DoJ sues California over ‘sanctuary’ laws

Attorney General Jeff Sessions attends a meeting at the White House on February 22. On Tuesday, the Justice Department filed a lawsuit against the state of California over the state's 'sanctuary' laws designed to protect undocumented immigrants. Photo by Chris Kleponis/UPI |

March 7 (UPI) — The Trump administration filed a lawsuit Tuesday against California over the state’s “sanctuary” laws that aim to restrain the federal government’s ability to apprehend undocumented immigrants.

The lawsuit asks that three recently passed state laws be blocked on grounds that they’re unconstitutional and obstruct federal immigration enforcement by regulating “private entities that seek to cooperate with federal authorities consistent with their obligations under federal law, and to impede consultation and communication between federal and state law enforcement officials.”

Those three laws are SB 54, which prohibits state and local law enforcement agencies from using public funds to “investigate, interrogate, detain, detect, or arrest persons for immigration enforcement purposes;” AB 450, which prohibits employers from allowing federal officers to enter a place of labor without a warrant;” and AB 103, which prevents state and local agencies from entering into contracts with the federal government to detain immigrants.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions will address the lawsuit in a speech Wednesday to law enforcement organizations in California.

“The Department of Justice and the Trump administration are going to fight these unjust, unfair, and unconstitutional policies that have been imposed on you,” Sessions will say, according to prepared remarks released to the media. “We are fighting to make your jobs safer and to help you reduce crime in America. And I believe that we are going to win.”

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who is named as a defendant in the lawsuit along with Gov. Jerry Brown, told the Los Angeles Times that he plans to defend California’s laws by arguing that the federal government can enforce immigration laws but can’t force state agencies to help.

“We are doing what we believe is best to make sure the people of California are safe,” he said. “We are doing nothing to intrude on the work of federal government to do immigration enforcement.”

He added: “When people feel confident to come forward to report crimes in our communities or participate in policing efforts without fear of deportation, they are more likely to cooperate with the criminal justice system. “


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