NY AG James Responds to US Attorney General Barr’s Plan to “Monitor” States

Letitia James, NYS Attorney GEneral

New York Attorney General Letitia James tonight released the following statement after U.S. Attorney General William Barr released a memo threatening to “monitor” and be “on the lookout for state and local directives that could be violating the constitutional rights and civil liberties of individual citizens” due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19):

“Despite the Trump Administration’s failure to do so, states are able to protect constitutional rights and enact policies to curb the spread of the coronavirus simultaneously. The Tenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution is clear that ‘the powers not delegated to the’ federal government shall be ‘reserved to the States.’ Make no mistake: U.S. Attorney General Barr is not the only one prepared to take legal action to guard the Constitution. My office will fight every day to defend it and the rights it affords the great State of New York.”

AG James also reponded to President Donald Trump’s threat to withhold coronavirus funding to cities and states that offer sancturay to undocumented immigrants. Characterizing President Trump’s threat as hostage taking, James called the effort as part of the president’s “sinister political agenda that only aims to punish citizens and non-citizens alike.”

“This is just another attempt to again feed to his base and push the same partisan ideology we’ve seen for the last three years. New York is proud of its status as a sanctuary state that welcomes and will fight to protect its immigrant residents — many of whom are fighting on the frontlines to battle the coronavirus. It is my sincerest hope that one day the president will wake up and realize the power of his words, until that day comes we will be ready to take legal action,” James said in a statement earlier on Tuesday.


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