San Francisco Acting Mayor Mark Farrell had some choice words for the U.S. Justice Department's lawsuit against the state of California’s sanctuary laws, KPIX-TV reported.
He joins Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, who also blasted Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a statement that defended her city’s decision to protect illegal aliens from federal immigration agents.
Farrell’s comments on Wednesday came in response to a speech by Session, in which Sessions criticized state and local officials for refusing to help Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents with round-ups of undocumented immigrants.
What did Farrell say?
“This guy (Sessions) is a moron,” said Farrell. “It’s more of the same out of D.C. Every single day, they do what they can in the Trump administration to distract from the chaos they have in the White House.”
They want to come to California, we welcome everybody but that’s the point. We are a sanctuary city here in San Francisco and we are a sanctuary state in California. … He comes here to threaten the state of California and make some headlines, distract from what’s happening in D.C., we’re not going to back down.
We are a who we are. As mayor I’m going to stick to who we are as a city. We are a sanctuary city. I will defend everyone in this city against that administration. We’ll take it as it comes day by day.
At an annual conference organized by a California Peace Officers’ Association, Sessions said ICE agents “are not backing down, they are not going to be deterred and not going to stop enforcing the law in Alabama or in California either.”
“In California, we have a problem,” Sessions said. “A series of actions and events has occurred here that directly and adversely impact the work of our federal officers. … This is an embarrassment to the proud state of California.”
Who is being targeted?
Sessions said sweeps by ICE in California have targeted only wanted and convicted felons, the report stated. But San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón strongly refuted that claim.
“When less than half of the individuals that ICE recently arrested in a Bay Area raid had a criminal record-and even fewer had a history of violence-the Trump administration’s stated goals of protecting public safety are demonstrably false,” Gascón told KPIX. “This is a portrait of dragnet-style immigration enforcement which studies have shown time and time again makes communities less safe, not more.”
He also called the practice racist.
“It’s time for the American public to see this racist stunt for what it is: A perverse use of power that prioritizes politics over public safety," Gascón said. "These actions are not taken to make America safer, they are being taken to divide Americans.”
A fatal shooting in 2015 propelled San Francisco into the center of the sanctuary city debate. Kate Steinle was killed by an undocumented immigrant and seven-time felon who was deported from the U.S. to Mexico “numerous times.”
Under San Francisco’s sanctuary city policy, the city had refused to turn him over to ICE agents, according to published reports.
On Monday, the Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against California on Monday in an attempt to stop three laws the federal agency says would unconstitutionally undermine immigration law enforcement.