Sunday, April 2, 2017
The Empire Strikes Back: Attorney General Sessions, DHS Secretary Respond to the Chief Justice of California
In a letter dated March 29, 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly responded to a letter from Chief Justice of California Tani Cantil-Sakauye calling for an end of federal immigration enforcement at the California courthouses. The Attorney General and DHS Secretary blame states, including California, for not cooperating with federal immigration detainer requests, which, according to the letter, requires attempts at arrests in public places. The federal response is attracting considerable attention.
As explained here, the federal government has been requesting that local jails detain for an extra 48 hours immigrants who have served their jail sentences and are entitled to release. A federal court in 2014 held that violated the Fourth Amendment to do so; sheriffs thus risk liability if they comply with such a detainer request and some sheriffs have been reluctant to run that risk.
Are Attorney General Sessions and DHS Secretary John Kelly really asking state and local law enforcement agencies to do something without legal basis and in fact violates the Fourth Amendment?