CBS Frets Jeff Sessions’ Threat to Pull Federal Funds from Sanctuary Cities

During a press briefing on Monday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions warned that if so-called sanctuary cities continued to hinder the implementation of federal immigration law, then federal law enforcement funds would be pulled. CBS Evening News pushed back against the Trump administration’s efforts by playing on the fears regarding, as anchor Scott Pelley said, “Who is being targeted.” Meanwhile, both ABC and NBC chose not to report on Sessions’ threat.

Reporter Ben Tracy started his segment with the story of Estefani Ortiz, whose father was recently taken by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. “19-year-old Estefani Ortiz says immigration and customs enforcement agents came to her house in Pasadena last month looking for someone who did not live there,” he explained, “They arrested her father, Carlos Ortiz, instead. He was in the country illegally but had no criminal record.”

“He stepped out and he never came back in,” the girl told Tracy, “Why did we open the door? Nobody's going to want to open the door. Everyone is scared.” According to Tracy, “The Los Angeles police department says aggressive ICE enforcement tactics are also having a chilling effect on Latinos reporting crimes.”

Tracy highlighted the efforts of California Supreme Court Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye who was resisting the U.S. Attorney General. “So she wrote a letter to Attorney General Jeff sessions, accusing federal agents of ‘stalking undocumented immigrants in our courthouses to make arrests,’” he noted.

“I feel that the courthouses are being targeted by ICE for arrests in a way that's unprecedented,” Cantil-Sakauye, told the CBS reporter, “Victims aren't going to come to court. Witnesses aren't going to come to testify against bad guys in violent communities because they're afraid that they're going to get arrested in court.” Reading from a statement by ICE, Tracy said, “While ICE does arrest targets at courthouses, generally it's only after investigating officers have exhausted other options.”

California is so adamant in opposing Sessions that they are looking into passing a law that would forbid local and state police from working with federal agents, according to Tracy. “By not allowing them access to the jails, the likelihood is they're going to go into the communities looking for the individual, and they're not going to limit themselves to that individual,” stated LA County Sheriff Jim McDonnell to Tracy, explaining why it was a bad idea.

While CBS continued their defense for sanctuary cities, they also continued their complete blackout of the Rockville rape case. The case involves two illegal immigrant students who forced themselves on a 14-year-old girl in a high school bathroom. Seems like only some are graced with CBS’s defense. 

Transcript below: 

CBS Evening News
March 27, 2017
6:37:03 PM Eastern

SCOTT PELLEY: Today, Attorney General Jeff Sessions warned that cities that don't help enforce immigration laws may lose federal grant money. Ben Tracy has more about the Trump administration's enforcement efforts and who is being targeted.

[Cuts to video]

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ESTEFANI ORTIZ: He stepped out and he never came back in.

BEN TRACY: 19-year-old Estefani Ortiz says immigration and customs enforcement agents came to her house in Pasadena last month looking for someone who did not live there. They arrested her father, Carlos Ortiz, instead. He was in the country illegally but had no criminal record.

ORTIZ: Why did we open the door? Nobody's going to want to open the door. Everyone is scared.

TRACY: The Los Angeles police department says aggressive ICE enforcement tactics are also having a chilling effect on Latinos reporting crimes. Since the beginning of the year, reports of sexual assault by Latinos in LA dropped 25%. Domestic violence reports fell 10%.

TANI CANTIL-SAKAUYE: They start the clam up. They no longer come to court.

TRACY: California Supreme Court Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye says lawyers are telling her Latinos are now afraid to show up at courthouses. So she wrote a letter to Attorney General Jeff sessions, accusing federal agents of “stalking undocumented immigrants in our courthouses to make arrests.” Those are strong words.

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CANTIL-SAKAUYE: I feel that the courthouses are being targeted by ice for arrests in a way that's unprecedented.

TRACY: What is your concern if ICE agents are in courthouses?

CANTIL-SAKAUYE: Victims aren't going to come to court. Witnesses aren't going to come to testify against bad guys in violent communities because they're afraid that they're going to get arrested in court.

TRACY: In a statement, ICE said, "While ICE does arrest targets at courthouses, generally it's only after investigating officers have exhausted other options." But in response to ICE actions, a proposed bill in California would bar state and local police from aiding federal immigration enforcement, including turning over criminals when they're released from jail. L.A. County Sheriff Jim McDonnell says that's a bad idea.

JIM MCDONNELL: By not allowing them access to the jails, the likelihood is they're going to go into the communities looking for the individual, and they're not going to limit themselves to that individual.

[Cuts back to live]

TRACY: And to give you an idea of just how much federal money is now at stake here, San Francisco and New York could lose nearly $25 billion combined, Scott, if the Trump White House follows through and cuts off funding for sanctuary cities.

PELLEY: Ben Tracy for us tonight. Ben, thank you.

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