Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf defended her decision to tip off illegal immigrants in her community prior to an ICE raid with a nasty little op-ed in the Washington Post this week, claiming that far from obstructing justice, she was “seeking it.” She said that the Trump administration’s immigration practices were rooted in a “racist lie,” that being that “undocumented residents” were responsible for crime and economic instability in America. Apparently Schaaf thinks that as long as SHE doesn’t agree with a law, she doesn’t have to abide by it. We assume that the illegal immigrants in Oakland believe much the same.
In any event, a new law may be coming that will take the bloom off the rose for this kind of thinking. Rep. Steve King (R-IA) introduced a bill this week that would put sanctuary city politicians in jail if they ever pulled the kind of stunt that Schaaf pulled a few months ago. In fact, King honored the Oakland mayor in the name of his new bill, calling it the Mayor Libby Schaaf Act. If King’s legislation becomes law, it would subject any state or local official who obstructs federal law enforcement with penalties of up to five years in prison.
“I want lawless, sanctuary city politicians to hear this message clearly: If you obstruct ICE, you are going to end up in the cooler,” King said.
While several members of the Trump administration, including the president himself, have called on the Justice Department to prosecute Schaaf, Rep. King admitted that there was some debate as to whether or not the Oakland mayor violated the law with her Twitter shout-out to illegals. King said that the point of his legislation was to “remove all doubt” from that debate and let sanctuary city politicians know exactly what they were risking if they wanted to block ICE from doing their federal duty.
In an interview with CNN, however, Mayor Schaaf said it was “not possible” for King’s legislation to be legal.
“Sanctuary city policies are legal policies,” Schaaf claimed. “Part of the beauty of American democracy is that there is a balance between local, state and federal power. I know a lot more about what makes my community safe than a congressman from Iowa.”
There is much to debate in Schaaf’s retort, the first of which being the idea that sanctuary city policies are legal policies. This will be decided by the courts as the Justice Department heads to a lawsuit with California over those very policies.
King’s legislation, too, is not particular to those policies, but rather to stunts like the one Schaaf pulled, where she intentionally tried to thwart federal law enforcement agents who were trying to make this country safer. That’s a whole ‘nother ball of wax, and as far as we’re concerned, there is a case against Schaaf even without a new law on the books.