Speaking in Sacramento at an event sponsored by 16,000-member the California Peace Officers Association, Sessions was critical of Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf's recent tipoffs to immigrant populations of impending raids and deportations.
The speech came one day after the Trump administration sued California over state laws that protect its population of undocumented immigrants. Commonly known as sanctuary laws, those statutes, among other actions, prevent businesses from allowing federal immigration officers to enter their property without a warrant.
"California, we have a problem. A series of actions and events has occurred that directly and adversely impact the work of our federal officers. For example, the mayor of Oakland has been actively seeking to help illegal aliens avoid apprehension by ICE [U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement]," Sessions said. "Her actions support those who flout our laws and boldly validate the illegality. There's no other way to interpret her remarks. To make matters worse, the elected lieutenant governor of this state [Gavin Newsom] praised her for doing so. Bragging about and encouraging the obstruction of our law enforcement and the law is an embarrassment to this proud and important state."
Sessions said sanctuary laws "intentionally obstruct the work of our sworn immigration enforcement officers to intentionally use every power it has to undermine duly-established immigration law in America."
"California won't let employers voluntarily allow ICE agents on their property. And California requires employers to give notice to employees before ICE inspects their workplace. Just imagine if a state passed a law forbidding employers from cooperating with OSHA in ensuring workplace safety, or the EPA, looking for a polluter. That would obviously be absurd. But it would be no different in principle from this new law enacted by California."