Attorney General Jeff Sessions Sues California Over “Sanctuary State” Laws


The Department of Justice has announced a lawsuit against the state of California over some its “sanctuary” immigration policies.  The lawsuit alleges that the state of California obstructs the federal government from enforcing existing immigration laws.

The DOJ cites three California statutes that impede the federal government’s enforcement of immigration regulations.  One, the Immigration Worker Protection Act, bars employers in California from cooperating with federal officials who are looking to enforce immigration laws at a place of business.

It prohibits employers from providing consent to immigration enforcement agents to enter a nonpublic area of labor or view employee records without a warrant.  It also bars employers from verifying the employment eligibility of a current employee, and mandates that the employer post a notice of any employment eligibility inspection, in the employee’s native language, within 72 hours of the employer receiving the notice.

The second statute, creates a review process for the Attorney General of the state of California to review the immigration enforcement efforts of federal agents.

The third statue, SB 54, parts of which are known as the California Values Act, prohibits state law enforcements from investigating, interrogating or detaining individuals for immigration purposes.  Authorities are prohibited from inquiring into an individual’s immigration status and from complying with immigration “hold requests,” where local authorities detain immigrants longer in order to hand them over to ICE agents.

“The Department of Justice and the Trump administration are going to fight these unjust, unfair and unconstitutional policies that have been imposed on you,” Attorney General Sessions plans to tell California law enforcement officers during in address this morning.  “We are fighting to make your jobs safer and to help you reduce crime in America. And I believe we are going to win.”

Both California Governor Jerry Brown and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, both named as defendants in the lawsuit, decried the lawsuit as divisive and unwarranted.

“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!!!” Brown wrote on Twitter.

“We’re following the Constitution and federal law,” said Becerra. “We’re doing nothing to intrude in the work of the federal government to do immigration enforcement. We recognize and respect that the federal government has authority over immigration enforcement.”

In a statement emailed to ITN, California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein also criticized the move, and justified California’s actions in defending its undocumented immigrant population.

“We’ve seen time and again that this administration is targeting all undocumented immigrants for deportation. Immigrants who are law-abiding, working and contributing to their communities are just as likely to be picked up as those with serious criminal records and who pose a threat to public safety. It makes no sense,” Feinstein wrote.

“ICE should not be targeting parents who have lived in this country for decades, arresting them as they take their children to school. That’s not what California stands for and our state’s actions to protect its residents are justified,” she added.

The suit does not seek a nationwide ruling, rather it is asking a federal judge in Sacramento, CA, to issue a statewide injunction barring enforcement of the three laws.

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