Justice Department To Sue California Over State Immigration Laws

Trump sues California over immigration policies

Trump sues California over immigration policies

WASHINGTON/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department will file a lawsuit against the state of California alleging it is interfering with the enforcement of federal immigration laws, escalating a long-simmering battle over "sanctuary" policies that try to protect illegal immigrants against deportation, senior department officials said Tuesday.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has filed against the state, Gov. In January, state Attorney General Xavier Becerra put employers on notice that they would be prosecuted if they did not follow the state's new Immigrant Worker Protection Act, AB 450, which prohibits businesses from voluntarily sharing information about workers with federal immigration agents.

The laws provide some of the most generous protections in the nation for immigrants facing deportation, but the Justice Department argues that they improperly venture into the enforcement of USA immigration law that is strictly a matter for the federal authorities.

The sheriffs association was the only one of those groups to oppose Senate Bill 54, the law passed past year that limits state and local law enforcement cooperation with federal immigration authorities. The third law the DOJ is targeting is AB 103, a provision of a budget bill approved previous year that allows the state to review federal immigrant detention of immigrants inside the state. "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".

"At a time of unprecedented political turmoil, Jeff Sessions has come to California to further divide and polarize America", the Democratic lawmaker tweeted.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement acting director Tomas Homan has threatened increased enforcement in California in the wake of SB 54. However, the topic of sanctuary cities and California has been a hot and controversial topic. To advance their cause, federal lawyers cite a 2012 Supreme Court dispute, in which the Obama administration sued Arizona over its punitive law meant to crack down on immigrants there. It sets up a clash not just on what is the best immigration policy to promote public safety, but also on what power the federal government should exert over the states.

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"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".

"I feel pretty confident that he would have a hard time proving that there's a rational basis for the federal government commandeering state funds simply to get the state to accommodate the federal government's desires on immigration enforcement", Becerra said. This review applies only to facilities with civil immigration detainees.

California is not the only jurisdiction to draw the ire of the Justice Department, but tensions between Justice and the state have been particularly acute.

Last year, California enacted the sanctuary laws, which restricted when and how law enforcement can cooperate with federal immigration enforcement officers.

The complaint, alleges "California has no authority to enforce laws that obstruct or otherwise conflict with, or discriminate against, federal immigration enforcement efforts". The suit includes a declaration from Immigration and Customs Enforcement Acting Director Thomas Homan, who said that the inability of ICE officers to go to local lockups to pick up immigrants who have been detained by local police agencies forces them to hunt down suspects in more risky settings.

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