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Attorney General Bill Barr Photo: Leah Millis-Pool/Getty Images

The Department of Justice on Monday announced a slew of lawsuits targeting New Jersey, California and King County, Washington, over laws and policies that the agency claims make it harder to enforce federal immigration law.

Why it matters: The administration has long railed against "sanctuary cities" and has been rolling out retaliatory actions against states, counties and cities that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration law enforcement.

  • California recently passed a state law banning the use of private detention facilities.
  • New Jersey state laws prohibit state and local law enforcement from sharing certain information about immigrants in criminal custody.
  • King County prevents the Department of Homeland Security from deporting immigrants using the county's international airport.

Driving the news: Attorney General Bill Barr announced some of the lawsuits in a speech to the National Sheriffs' Association on Monday. He said the Justice Department is "reviewing the practices, policies and laws of other jurisdictions across the country" to determine whether they comply with laws that prohibit "harboring or shielding" unauthorized immigrants.

  • "We are robustly supporting DHS in its effort to use all lawful means to obtain the information it needs to carry out its mission," Barr said. He threatened the use of federal subpoenas to access information about immigrants who have committed crimes.
  • The department is also "meticulously reviewing the actions of certain district attorneys who have adopted policies of charging foreign nationals with lesser offenses" in order to avoid having those immigrants deported, Barr said.

The big picture: Last week, the Department of Homeland Security ended expedited airport processing programs for New Yorkers, citing state law that prevents federal immigration officials from accessing vehicle records without a court order.

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Biden holds first phone call with Putin, raises Navalny arrest

Putin takes a call in 2017. Photo: Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty

President Biden on Tuesday held his first call since taking office with Vladimir Putin, pressing the Russian president on the arrest of opposition leader Alexey Navalny and the Russia-linked hack on U.S. government agencies, AP reports.

The state of play: Biden also planned to raise arms control, bounties allegedly placed on U.S. troops in Afghanistan and the war in Ukraine, according to White House press secretary Jen Psaki, who said the call took place while she was delivering a press briefing. Psaki added that a full readout will be provided later Tuesday.

Biden signs racial equity executive orders

Joe Biden prays at Grace Lutheran Church in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on September 3, 2020, in the aftermath of the police shooting of Jacob Blake. PHOTO: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Joe Biden on Tuesday signed executive orders on housing and ending the Justice Department's use of private prisons as part of what the White House is calling his “racial equity agenda.”

The big picture: Biden needs the support of Congress to push through police reform or new voting rights legislation. The executive orders serve as his down payment to immediately address systemic racism while he focuses on the pandemic.

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