Trump, Sessions Escalate Attacks on Sanctuary for Immigrants

Protest Outside SF ICE Building Denounces Immigration Raids

Major immigration raids swept across Northern California recently. Hundreds of people were arrested and deported. As this nightmare was underway, Libby Schaaf, mayor of Oakland, went on the airwaves and alerted people of an impending Gestapo (oops, make that ICE) assault upon that city.

Donald Trump, his attorney general Jeff Sessions, and other officials in the fascist regime he heads then threatened Schaaf and accused her of aiding criminals and endangering ICE agents. Trump said Schaaf is a “disgrace,” and continued, “It’s certainly something we are looking at with respect to her individually. What she did is incredible and very dangerous from the standpoint of ICE and Border Patrol. Very dangerous. She really made law enforcement much more dangerous than it had to be. So we are looking at that situation very carefully.” Trump’s spokesperson said it is “outrageous that a mayor would circumvent federal authorities and certainly put them in danger by making a move such as that. And that’s currently under review by the Department of Justice, and I don’t have anything else to add.” Attorney General Sessions called out Schaaf in a Sacramento speech, saying, “How dare you? How dare you needlessly endanger the lives of our law enforcement officials to promote a radical open-borders agenda?”

A Good Thing to Sound the Alarm

Warning people of ICE raids is a good thing. Acts like Schaaf’s must be upheld, and the outrageous attacks on her must stop. These Gestapo (ICE) raids tear apart the lives of hundreds of people and destroy their families. They spread terror throughout entire communities of hundreds of thousands. They are part of laying the groundwork for even more massive projects of ethnic cleansing.

The completely outrageous attacks on Schaaf by officials of the fascist government must be opposed, and defeated. If the fascists get away with their threats, either by silencing her or by actually prosecuting her, they will have taken a major step on the road to fascism. One, this would turbocharge the entire ethnic cleansing campaign against immigrants. Two, it would signal that threats of prison and prison itself will be used extremely broadly, up to the highest levels of the ruling class and certainly far beyond that, against anyone who actively or even passively opposes this onslaught.

Heavy Consequences, an Unwritten Future

California has the largest number of immigrants of any state in the U.S. On January 1 of this year, California declared itself a “sanctuary* state” as several laws passed last year went into effect. One prevents local and state authorities from telling ICE agents when immigrants jailed for nonviolent offenses are about to be released, and from turning them over directly to federal custody. Another restricts employers from turning over information about their workers to ICE without a subpoena or court order. And a third empowers California officials to inspect federal detention centers to ensure that they meet the state’s health and safety standards.

Sessions went to Sacramento, the state capital, to announce a lawsuit the fascist Department of Justice he heads had filed against California to overturn these laws. Now, with their threats on Schaaf, they are threatening to arrest and prosecute state officials who enforce sanctuary measures that are state law.

The Trump/Pence fascist regime has embarked on a program of ethnic cleansing, for real. They have been implementing and enacting repressive anti-immigrant measures and laws, enabling police across the country to arrest immigrants, and enflaming a rabid, racist social base to carry out attacks, all aimed at driving out millions of immigrants. They are out to remove any obstacles in their way, legal, political, and otherwise, and they must not be allowed to succeed.

ALL sanctuary measures that exist must be fiercely defended, and more must be established. Alarms should ring at all ICE raids, and resistance should deepen and spread.

Officials like Schaaf (who is not on the same plane of power nor playing the same role as the shameless grinning collaborationist Fuck Schumer or Nancy Pig-losi) oppose attacks on immigrants and sanctuary from their own understanding of how best to pursue and maintain order in this society. We need a world that gets far beyond all the madness and horrors of this capitalist-imperialist system and the suffering it thrives upon. That’s an important contradiction to keep well in mind as we wage this battle, and it can and does have consequences both as to strategy and tactics—how far different forces will go in calling the masses of people into the streets, in fully standing up to the regime, and going over to calling for its political ouster.

But the clash between the fascist Trump/Pence regime and sanctuary advocates like Libby Schaaf is real, deadly serious, and laden with heavy consequences. The fascists are out to demolish the norms that have cohered U.S. society and slam into place new, fascist norms. Fascism attacks those who oppose it and the entire capitalist-imperialist system of which it is a concentration, but one of its main needs as it consolidates is to attack, shred, and replace the norms of liberal bourgeois democracy, and attack its prominent advocates. In this instance, with Trump/Pence, that includes the mainstream press, the Democrats, and others. In Germany, as the Nazis came to power, they replaced and forcibly abolished the liberal bourgeois Weimar Republic which had preceded them. (See “The Fascists and the Destruction of the ‘Weimar Republic’… And What Will Replace It,” by Bob Avakian.)

The fascists in power in the U.S. have intensified already ferocious attacks on immigrants and taken them to a new level. They have initiated a policy of driving masses of people out of the country—a policy of ethnic cleansing. This includes the use of Nazi language—calling people “snakes,” calling entire countries “shitholes.” It includes attacks on officials who oppose the fascists, and ramping up as well as embedding in law the full range of attacks. The two sides in this conflict are not going to be able to “work out their differences.”

These attacks on immigrants are fucking intolerable. The legal assaults on sanctuary jurisdictions are fucking intolerable. Millions of people feel that way. The fascist attacks to dismantle sanctuary jurisdictions and threaten political leaders who defend it could be an opening through which things in this society get unglued. A process could get underway that is out of the control both of the fascists and the leadership of the Democratic Party, who try to contain the struggle within “acceptable” bounds. A real and massive fight to stop the fascist attacks on immigrants can inspire people to aim higher and should be built as part of the massive effort needed to drive out the entire Trump/Pence regime. It is up to us to seize and act on this moment, and push it as far as we can.

  • What are sanctuary jurisdictions? Many states, counties, and cities have laws and policies that provide undocumented immigrants with some legal rights and access to services that allow them to function and survive. In 12 states and the District of Columbia, undocumented people can get driver’s licenses. Many cities issue their own form of government IDs that allow undocumented people access to some services, ranging from medical care to school enrollment to library cards. States, counties, and cities, and also schools, social service agencies, and other institutions, have policies that they will not inquire about the immigration status of people seeking their services. In addition, a wide range of public and private institutions—colleges and universities, churches, mosques, synagogues—offer different degrees and forms of sanctuary, up to and including that they will defy and resist any attempt to detain or deport undocumented people.

These measures have not prevented federal raids and carrying out ferocious repression against immigrants within the country and along the border. But they have enabled many immigrants to develop the semblance of an ability to function, work, go to school, and raise a family without the fear of arrest constantly over their heads.


Revolution newspaper/, the voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, provides the foundation, guideline, and organizational scaffolding for the whole process of carrying out our strategy for revolution. Through publishing works of Bob Avakian, and through many different articles, interviews, letters, graphics, and other features, Revolution enables people to really understand, and act to radically change, the world.

Originally posted at




Support Countercurrents

Countercurrents is answerable only to our readers. Support honest journalism because we have no PLANET B.
Become a Patron at Patreon

Join Our Newsletter


Join our WhatsApp and Telegram Channels

Get CounterCurrents updates on our WhatsApp and Telegram Channels

Related Posts

Join Our Newsletter

Annual Subscription

Join Countercurrents Annual Fund Raising Campaign and help us

Latest News