Im­mi­gra­tion sweep tip offs could send of­fi­cials to prison for 5 years

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics - BY STEPHEN DINAN

Tip­ping il­le­gal im­mi­grants off to a loom­ing im­mi­gra­tion sweep could net sanc­tu­ary city lead­ers jail time, un­der a new bill an­nounced last week by Rep. Steve King.

The Iowa Repub­li­can dubbed the bill the Mayor Libby Schaaf Act, af­ter the Oak­land mayor who alerted Cal­i­for­nia’s Bay Area to an impending sweep ear­lier this year, in a move that im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cials said helped hun­dreds of peo­ple es­cape de­tec­tion.

At the time, the chief of U.S. Im­mi­gra­tion and Cus­toms En­force­ment said Ms. Schaaf was es­sen­tially act­ing as a “gang look­out” tip­ping off law­break­ers when po­lice came through their neigh­bor­hood.

Mr. King’s new bill would in­clude a penalty of up to five years in prison for any state or lo­cal of­fi­cial who ob­structs en­force­ment of fed­eral laws.

“I want law­less, sanc­tu­ary city politi­cians to hear this mes­sage clearly: if you ob­struct ICE, you are go­ing to end up in the cooler,” Mr. King said in an­nounc­ing his bill.

Pres­i­dent Trump, a ve­he­ment op­po­nent of sanc­tu­ary cities, has al­ready called for Ms. Schaaf to be pros­e­cuted.

And ICE chief Thomas D. Ho­man and Home­land Se­cu­rity Sec­re­tary Kirst­jen Nielsen have of­fi­cially pe­ti­tioned the Jus­tice Depart­ment to see if they can pros­e­cute sanc­tu­ary city of­fi­cials.

But Mr. King said there’s some de­bate about whether cur­rent laws make Ms. Schaaf’s be­hav­ior in tip­ping off il­le­gal im­mi­grants crim­i­nal.

He said his bill would “re­move all doubt.”

Ms. Schaaf, ap­pear­ing on CNN last week, vowed to re­main firm in the face of pres­sure.

“We will not let any­one in­tim­i­date us. We will not apol­o­gize for those val­ues,” she told the net­work.

She de­fended the le­gal­ity of sanc­tu­ary poli­cies, say­ing lo­cal of­fi­cials have the right to de­cide how much co­op­er­a­tion to pro­vide to fed­eral of­fi­cials, and she doubted Mr. King’s bill could with­stand scru­tiny.

“It’s not pos­si­ble that leg­is­la­tion like that could be il­le­gal. Sanc­tu­ary city poli­cies are le­gal poli­cies,” she said.

She added that the “warn­ing” she gave was only “gen­eral” in na­ture, and amounted to ad­vis­ing peo­ple of their le­gal rights should they be caught. She doubted any­one man­aged to es­cape ICE’s sweep be­cause of it.

“The idea that caused any amount of peo­ple to not be ap­pre­hended as part of that oper­a­tion just can­not be true,” she said.


“It’s not pos­si­ble that leg­is­la­tion like that could be il­le­gal. Sanc­tu­ary city poli­cies are le­gal poli­cies,” Oak­land Mayor Libby Schaaf said in an in­te­view on CNN on Mon­day.

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