In battling local immigration control measures nationwide, Obama’s Justice Department has claimed that they conflict with federal immigration law and undermine the government’s careful balance of immigration enforcement priorities and objectives. The Obama Administration has made this argument recently in cases against Arizona and Alabama.
But what is the administration doing about local governments that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities and blatantly ignore the legal status of arrested individuals? A group of Senate Judiciary Committee members posed the question to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano last week.
They specifically mentioned Cook County Illinois where local authorities openly flip the finger at the feds by refusing to report illegal immigrants who come in contact with police, even dangerous criminals. In fact, in 2007 Judicial Watch took legal action against the Chicago Police Department—which has a don’t-ask-don’t-tell immigration policy—after learning of an illegal immigrant sanctuary resolution that was being considered by Cook County’s Board of Commissioners at the time.
In a letter to Napolitano last week, the Judiciary Committee members—senators Chuck Grassley (Iowa), John Cornyn (Texas), Tom Coburn (Oklahoma) and Jeff Sessions (Alabama)—cite a recent meeting with a high-ranking Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) official who confirmed that Cook County creates a major problem for enforcement efforts. In fact, the ICE associate director of removal operations said Cook County’s egregious example of sanctuary city policies presents “an accident waiting to happen.”
So the senators ask Napolitano: “We would like to know what specific steps have been and will be taken by your Department to compel Cook County to reverse its policy of ignoring immigration detainers. In addition, we would request an overview of meetings held between federal officials and Cook County, including any emails or other documentation that exist, to understand how the federal government has been or is attempting to rectify the situation.”
Napolitano is urged to take a direct role in the matter by the lawmakers who remind the Homeland Security Secretary that Cook County’s ordinance creates a “serious threat to the public’s safety” that requires Napolitano’s “immediate and personal attention.” It’s a matter of national security, the veteran senators assert….