Wednesday, March 7, 2018
Breaking news! Late yesterday, the Trump administration sued California over its sanctuary policies for undocumented immigrants, setting off a chorus of near-unanimous defiance from California lawmakers.
This morning, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions laid out the details of the lawsuit Wednesday in a speech in downtown Sacramento, where he addressed members of the California Peace Officers Association. Here are the prepared remarks.
Here is the complaint, which was filed in the Eastern District of California (Sacramento). Download Sanctuary city lawsuit
The United States claims that three California laws violate the Supremacy Clause and intrude on the federal power to regulate immigration. As the government states in the Complaint:
1. "The first statute, the “Immigrant Worker Protection Act,” Assembly Bill 450 (“AB 450”), prohibits private employers in California from voluntarily cooperating with federal officials who seek information relevant to immigration enforcement that occurs in places of employment.
2.. The second statute, Assembly Bill 103 (“AB 103”), creates an inspection and review scheme that requires the Attorney General of California to investigate the immigration enforcement efforts of federal agents.
3. The third statute, Senate Bill 54 (“SB 54”), which includes the “California Values Act limits the ability of state and local law enforcement officers to provide the United States with basic information about individuals who are in their custody and are subject to federal immigration custody, or to transfer such individuals to federal immigration custody.
The thrust of the U.S. government's legal claim is that
"The provisions of state law at issue have the purpose and effect of making it more difficult for federal immigration officers to carry out their responsibilities in California. The Supremacy Clause does not allow California to obstruct the United States’ ability to enforce laws that Congress has enacted or to take actions entrusted to it by the Constitution. Accordingly, the provisions at issue here are invalid."
California officials dispute the U.S. government's claims.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) said Tuesday night that while he had yet to examine what the Justice Department filed, he felt the state was abiding by the Constitution and cooperating with its federal partners to foster public safety. "States and local jurisdictions have the right to determine which policies are best for their communities,” he said.
California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) wrote on Twitter, “At a time of unprecedented political turmoil, Jeff Sessions has come to California to further divide and polarize America. Jeff, these political stunts may be the norm in Washington, but they don’t work here. SAD!!!”
Kevin de Leon, President pro Tem of the California Senate, wrote on Twitter that Sessions was suing his state “because we refuse to help the Trump administration tear apart honest, hardworking immigrant families.”
The U.S. government is seeking a preliminary injunction barring the implementation of the California laws. Central to the government's arguments is the Supreme Court's 2012 decision in Arizona v. United States, which held that core provisions of Arizona's immigration enforcement law (SB 1070) were preempted by federal law, with the federal government having the exclusive authority to admit and deport noncitizens. Unlike the law at issue in the Arizona case, which was designed to promote enforcement of the federal immigration laws, the California laws at issue in this case are designed to keep the state out of federal immigration enforcement efforts.