The Trump administration has filed a lawsuit seeking to undo California laws that extend protections for immigrants living in the United States illegally.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a longtime proponent of immigration restrictions, will speak Wednesday at an annual Law Enforcement Legislative Day hosted by the California Peace Officers' Association in Sacramento. Jerry Brown and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra for interfering with federal immigration activities.
The Department of Justice alleges this law prohibits private employers from voluntarily cooperating with federal immigration officials. Under Trump, DOJ has tried a mix of political and financial pressure against sanctuary cities, threatening to cut off federal law enforcement grants unless cities agree to identify and hold suspected immigration offenders. The state wants a judge to certify that its laws are in compliance with federal immigration law. "We don't get in the way of the federal government in doing immigration enforcement, unless of course they do so in an unconstitutional manner".
Last month, Oakland's Democratic mayor warned residents that Immigration and Customs Enforcement was planning a raid, just before authorities took into custody more than 150 people in Northern California suspected of violating immigration laws. The 23 sanctuary cities that were hit with a subpoena by Sessions have responded and are being reviewed on a rolling basis, officials said. Administration officials, who briefed reporters before the suit was filed, said other states that are pursuing laws similar to California's are also likely to be targeted in court.
The lawsuit named as defendants the state of California, Gov.
De Leon also described the lawsuit as a "racist and xenophobic attack", writing, "If Sessions is serious about cracking down on crime, he should stop fretting about CA and look in his own backyard". The law seeks to regulate federal immigration detention, according to the complaint, which is not allowed under the Constitution. That case ultimately made it to the Supreme Court, which struck down portions of the law but let stand the provision requiring police officers to check the immigration status of people they detained and suspected were in the country without legal documentation.
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At a time of unprecedented political turmoil, Jeff Sessions has come to California to further divide and polarize America. "It's a punch back to the lawlessness that's rampant in the state of California".
"Despite how (bill author Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León) has presented the issue, the law enforcement profession, which CPOA represents, can not and does not engage in immigration enforcement".
Last year, California enacted the sanctuary laws, which restricted when and how law enforcement can cooperate with federal immigration enforcement officers.
"Our duty at the Department of Homeland Security is to enforce and uphold the nation's security laws as passed by the U.S. Congress and signed by the President", Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said in a statement.
To make its case, the DOJ is in part pointing to a ruling on a very different state-level immigration law: Arizona's SB 1070, which was meant to expand local police efforts to find and arrest undocumented immigrants.