Civil rights groups and immigration advocates slammed the Trump administration after it filed a series of lawsuits and issued measures against state and local governments that have enacted “sanctuary” policies.
The latest announcement came on Monday when US Attorney General William Barr announced the Justice Department was suing the state of New Jersey and King County, Washington, over immigration policies that offer protections to undocumented immigrants.
“When we are talking about sanctuary cities, we are talking about policies that are designed to allow criminal aliens to escape,” Barr said in a statement.
“These policies are not about people who came to our country illegally but have otherwise been peaceful and productive members of society. Their express purpose is to shelter aliens whom local law enforcement has already arrested for other crimes. This is neither lawful nor sensible,” he added.
But rights groups say sanctuary policies protect immigrants’ rights and make communities safer. They also say President Donald Trump’s retaliatory moves are legally problematic and aimed at appealing to his conservative base.