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The news that Attorney General Jeff Sessions is suing the state of California over several pro-immigrant policies is just the latest reminder that the Trump Administration’s war on immigrants is more about stoking a culture war, setting up political attack ads, and sowing fear than advancing public safety.
The lawsuit from the Trump/Sessions Department of Justice is both chilling and unsurprising, highlighting that one of the few consistent policy visions embraced by the Trump Administration is its gratuitously cruel war on immigrants.
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, “Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions are waging a war on immigrants in America, seeking to turbocharge deportations and bully states and communities that prioritize public safety and welcoming immigrants over colluding with Trump’s deportation force.”
As California Attorney General Xavier Becerra emphasized in reaction to the news of the lawsuit, “Our state officials work in concert with federal officials every day. We have no intention changing that here in California. But what we won’t do is stop being focused on public safety. We’re in the business of public safety, not deportation.”
The DOJ lawsuit fits neatly alongside the actions of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. In 2017, ICE arrests of immigrants without criminal records surged 171% compared to 2016. Trump’s immigration enforcement targets include immigrants reporting as witnesses at courthouses, those showing up at USCIS appointments seeking to adjust their status, advocates who are targeted in acts of political retaliation, and the deportation of long-settled heads of American families. These efforts trample on American values and set back public safety – as San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon said, ICE’s presence in courthouses is “very shortsighted … the chilling impact that has on an entire community is devastating.”
View some of the tweets responding to Sessions’ and Trump’s attack on California immigrants below: