Dale Wilcox, executive director and general counsel for the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), joined Thursday’s edition of SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Tonight to discuss his organization’s filing of two briefs against California to challenge the Golden State’s “sanctuary state” law. He spoke with Breitbart News Senior Editor-at-Large Rebecca Mansour and special guest host Patrick Courrielche.
California’s SB 54, “The California Values Act,” prevents local authorities from honoring Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainers, making California a “sanctuary state.”
Wilcox said, “Tomorrow, we’re filing two briefs, and the United States vs. California lawsuit wherein the U.S. government is challenging California’s new sanctuary state laws. I’m happy to report that there actually exist California elected officials who care about the safety and security of their constituents. … There are several cities, elected officials, even a U.S. representative joining our brief that we’re going to file tomorrow evening.”
“Sadly, the supermajority in Sacramento is legislating for the rest of the state and imposing these laws that are clearly unconstitutional and violate the supremacy clause and are not in the best interests of Californians but solely in the best interests of illegal aliens and criminals. Various cities around the state are saying, ‘We’ve had enough, we’re not going to put with this.’ So the United States has filed suit, and the court has allowed interested friend-of-the-court parties to file briefs, and tomorrow is the deadline for those who are supporting the United States government,” said Wilcox.
Californian municipalities including Yorba Linda, Mission Viejo, and Escondido are all joining the IRLI’s first brief. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) is also joining.
The city councils of both Huntington Beach and Los Alamitos are also suing California over its “sanctuary state” law. Orange County’s board of supervisors also voted to join the federal government’s lawsuit against California.
Wilcox explained the rationale of the IRLI’s first brief, saying:
It’s going to focus on how the state of California has overstepped its bounds and it’s put them in a really tough situation. Not only are they endangering their constituents, but they’ve put them in a situation where they potentially could be violating federal law … by not cooperating with ICE and hiding from ICE when their local jails are going to release someone, even though ICE has asked that they be notified or transfer someone to ICE who is a wanted criminal.
The IRLI is also filing a second brief on behalf of the National Sheriffs’ Association to allow California sheriffs to “assist” and “cooperate” with ICE for immigration enforcement purposes. The brief will also represent Advocates for Victims of Illegal Alien Crime (AVIAC) and Fight Sanctuary State.
Wilcox added, “I’m happy to say that the good people of California are rising up and saying enough, and they’re going to challenge the state and these laws that were passed last year that were clearly passed to thwart immigration enforcement and turning over criminal aliens to ICE.”
“One of the three laws being challenged in the United States lawsuit is the so-called Immigrant Worker Protection Act,” continued Wilcox:
Basically, private employers are prohibited under California law from allowing ICE on their premises in non-public areas. They cannot voluntarily cooperate with ICE. … Of course, federal law authorizes federal agents to enter places of employments and do spot checks and raids, so it clearly conflicts with federal law. What is Sacramento taking here? It is clearly an attempt to assist unlawful employment. We have federal laws against that. Why are they not thinking about their citizens and legal residents who are unemployed? Why are they taking the side of illegal aliens? It makes no sense.
In a Friday-released press release, IRLI warned that two of California’s state laws “directly interfere with federal enforcement of immigration law” and “invite armed confrontations between state and federal officers.”
“These municipalities and officials have grave concerns that the challenged state laws not only violate federal supremacy but will make cities and officials criminally liable,” claims IRLI. “Among other things, the brief shows that by restricting the ability of local governments and private businesses to cooperate with federal immigration officers, AB450 and SB54 compel them to commit the federal crime of concealing, harboring, or shielding illegal aliens. The brief also demonstrates that contacting and working with governmental enforcement authorities is protected First Amendment activity that California cannot constitutionally prohibit.”
The Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against California challenging three state laws — “The California Values Act” (SB54), “The Immigrant Worker Protection Act” (AB450), and Assembly Bill 103 (AB103) — as “unconstitutionally obstruct[ing] the federal government’s ability to enforce immigration laws.”
Wilcox explained the changing political calculus over illegal immigration over recent decades:
Why has it changed? Sadly, for political gain. The Democrats have formed this vision that through identity politics they can transform and gain power and create these voting blocs, so they have just opened to doors to illegal immigration. … Twenty or thirty years ago, this would have never happened. … It’s all about political gain. It’s about power. It’s also about money as we see with this recent lawsuit that California has filed regarding the census. … We’ve that question form on our census since 1820. It’s all about political power. It’s a ploy.
Wilcox noted how the 1,500-person caravan seeking entry to the U.S. via Mexico is being organized by American political groups. He said:
I think it’s despicable because this has been organized by a open borders group here called People Without Borders, and what they’re doing is they were trying to bring attention to the plight of these people in Honduras — I think 80 percent of the individuals in the caravan were from Honduras — and instead what they’ve done is set off kind of a domino effect showing how porous our border is and how in need we are of border enforcement. They’ve only proven the president right, and of course it might have precipitated the president using the national guard to go down to the border. So I think it backfired on them. I think it’s despicable because they have purposefully gathered these people together and marched them up towards our border with the intent of getting here.
Wilcox explained how migrants frame themselves as refugees to exploit U.S. asylum law, “They have surely coached them on what to say. The magic words are, ‘I have a credible fear of persecution in my country,’ and they automatically, under our law, if they have entered the United States and actually make it across the border, they say those magic words and then they must be given a credible fear hearing by an immigration law judge. So it is disturbing what’s going on and how our system is being abused.”
Wilcox added, “What happens is, they come across, they claim asylum, we have to give them a hearing, we don’t have enough space, we release into the public, and guess what? They don’t show up for their hearing. They just disappear into the interior.”
Wilcox highlighted presidential options to combat illegal immigration, “There are several things the president can do He has powers under the Immigration and Nationality Act to suspend all entry into the country which was used in the travel ban case … He can deputize local and state law officials to assist immigration enforcement when there’s a mass influx like this.” More immigration judges are needed near the southern border to expedite the processing of asylum claimants, he added.
Mansour asked Wilcox if America should pursue a Safe Third Country Agreement with Mexico as it has with Canada. Wilcox replied, “We absolutely need it. Refugee law states that you’re supposed to go the country closest to you where you’re not being persecuted. If you stop off in a place where there’s no persecution you should be applying for refugee status there. Well, they’re marching up through Mexico. Do you think Mexico is going to stop them? Mexico has an interest in messing with president Trump and causing instability in the United States. So they’re not going to assist us.”
Wilcox said Mexican-based criminal cartels advertise their services to aspiring illegal immigrants seeking entry to the U.S., “They advertise to individuals who might an inclination to come over the United States that they will help them with that. That’s one of their biggest sources of income, human smuggling. It’s important that we put a stop to this — like this caravan — and not let this continue because it only strengthens the cartels.”
Breitbart News Tonight broadcasts live Monday through Friday on SiriusXM’s Patriot channel 125 from 9:00 p.m. to midnight Eastern (6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Pacific).
Follow Robert Kraychik on Twitter @rkraychik.