Justice Department sues California over ‘sanctuary’ immigration laws

March 7, 2018 4:08 pm
Attorney General Jeff Sessions listens during a press conference at the Department of Justice in Washington, DC on February 27, 2018. (Photo by AFP)
The Trump administration intends to file a lawsuit against California over three of the state’s immigration laws, ramping up its fight against so-called “sanctuary” policies.
The lawsuit, which Attorney General Jeff Sessions will formally announce on Wednesday, is the latest in a string of measures by the administration to counter local efforts to limit police cooperation with deportation of undocumented immigrants.
“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 tell law enforcement officers during a speech on Wednesday, according to multiple reports.
“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,” he will say.
California passed three so-called sanctuary laws last year in response to the federal government’s enforcement measures.
The Justice Department will argue that one of the state’s laws — which in certain circumstances prevents local authorities from giving information to immigration agents or from handing over detained immigrants to federal custody — is unconstitutional.
Demonstrators protest the deportation of immigrants on March 1, 2018, in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by AFP)
The lawsuit is modeled after a suit the administration of former President Barack Obama filed in 2010 against an Arizona state-level immigration law known as Arizona’s SB 1070.
That law targeted undocumented immigrants and was meant to expand local police efforts to find and arrest them. The Supreme Court sided with the Obama administration in 2012 by striking down major provisions of that law.
Though Arizona’s SB 1070 is totally different in nature, the Trump administration will argue that California is similarly overstepping its authority, senior DOJ officials said.
California Governor Jerry Brown responded to the lawsuit Tuesday evening, calling it a “political stunt.”
“At a time of unprecedented political turmoil, Jeff Sessions has come to California to further divide and polarize America,” Brown, a Democrat, said in a statement. “Jeff, these political stunts may be the norm in Washington, but they don’t work here.”
The state’s attorney general, Xavier Becerra, also defended California’s laws.
“Our state officials work in concert with federal officials every day. We have no intention changing that here in California. But what we won’t do is stop being focused on public safety,” Becerra, also a Democrat, told reporters. “We’re in the business of public safety, not deportation.” 
Supporters of “sanctuary” policies contend that such laws make communities safer by allowing local police to cooperate with immigrant communities and focus time and resources on duties other than deportation.
In September, Trump said he was ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which protected hundreds of thousands of young undocumented migrants, known as Dreamers, from deportation.
However, Trump gave Congress six months to develop a legislative solution to provide the path to citizenship for Dreamers. That deadline passed on Monday without Congress any action. 
Skip to toolbar
shared on wplocker.com