Watch CBS News

Jeff Sessions calls out California on immigration failures after announcing lawsuit

Sessions on DOJ lawsuit against Calif.
Sessions calls out California on immigration after announcing DOJ lawsuit 25:16

Attorney General Jeff Sessions did not hold back Wednesday in Sacramento, California, as he formally announced a lawsuit against the Golden State over its failure to comport with federal laws on immigration.

Sessions particularly called out Oakland's mayor, Libby Schaaf, after she tipped off an immigrant community to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raid, as an example of what he sees as California's lawlessness. 

"So here's my message to Mayor Schaaf," Sessions added. "How dare you, how dare you needlessly endanger the lives of our law enforcement officers to promote a radical open borders agenda?"

Oakland's mayor criticized for potential ICE raids warning 01:57

The DOJ lawsuit argues that federal laws trump state ones, and California is violating the U.S. Constitution with laws and policies that prohibit the federal government from enforcing immigration laws and punishing illegal immigrants who commit crimes.

"I'm afraid this is an embarrassment to the proud state of California," Sessions said.

Sessions has prioritized cracking down on cities that fail to comply with federal immigration authorities -- called "sanctuary cities" -- in his time as attorney general, following through on campaign promises and platforms President Trump made, as CBS News' Paula Reid has reported.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra disagreed with the DOJ that it has endangered law enforcement officers with its tactics. 

"California is in the business of public safety. We're not in the business of deportations," Becerra said. "In California, we don't confuse coercion with cooperation. Neither should the Trump administration."

California Gov. Jerry Brown also blasted Mr. Trump and Sessions, saying he thinks Sessions is just trying to please his boss. The president has publicly criticized his attorney general on multiple occasions over what Mr. Trump sees as a failure to hold the FBI accountable and prosecute his former rival Hillary Clinton.

"Look, we know the Trump administration is full of liars," Brown said. "The release records are public, and there's nothing that stops any sheriff who runs the jails to working with ICE."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.