Justice Department sues California over 'sanctuary' laws
- Author: Eleanor Harrison Mar 08, 2018,
Mar 08, 2018, 1:14
Attorney General Jeff Sessions launched a strident defense Wednesday of the Trump administration's legal challenge to California state laws that shield illegal immigrants from federal authorities, proclaiming that "immigration law is the province of the federal government".
"Federal agents must be able to do that job that Congress has directed them to do. And I believe that we are going to win".
It is separate from other cases, now working their way through the courts, that are challenging the Justice Department's efforts to withhold federal crime-fighting funds from sanctuary communities. He singled out Schaaf for her warning earlier this month of an impending ICE operation in the Bay Area. She says she did nothing illegal.
"Stop treating immigration agents differently from everybody else for the objective of eviscerating border and immigration laws and advancing an open borders philosophy shared by only a few, the most radical extremists", Sessions said. Sessions claims that Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers "failed to make 800 arrests" because of Schaaf's statements. "How dare you needlessly endanger the lives of our law enforcement officers to promote a radical, open borders agenda".
The lawsuit, which also names Gov.
Sessions did not preview what his announcement will entail.
Shortly after Mr. Sessions's speech, Gov.
The suit named Brown and state Attorney General Xavier Becerra, both strident defenders of undocumented immigrants, as defendants.
Protesters say they wanted to send a message to Sessions that Californians support immigrants and won't cooperate with immigration policies they view as racist.
He also called the Trump administration "full of liars".
"If they voluntarily start giving up information about their employees or access to their employees in ways that contradict our new California laws they subject themselves to actions by my office". And a provision in a budget trailer bill establishes a state review process for immigration detention centers that contract with ICE.
Prior to Sessions' remarks, dozens of protesters gathered outside of the Sacramento hotel where the event was held.
California officials have vowed to fight the lawsuit.
This isn't the first time the Trump administration has attempted to attack Sanctuary states and cities.
One loss for California came last month, when a San Diego federal judge paved the way for construction of a section of Trump's proposed wall along the US southern border over the objections of Becerra and environmental groups who alleged the federal government didn't properly review the project's impact on the desert ecosystem. "We are doing nothing to intrude on the work of federal government to do immigration enforcement".
During a speech at the National Association of State Attorneys General in late February, Sessions noted that legal actions taken by states and cities against administration policies have led to 20 nationwide injunctions, more than any other presidential administration.
"At a time of unprecedented political turmoil, Jeff Sessions has come to California to further divide and polarize America", he said. Jeff, se political stunts may be norm in Washington, but y don't work here. SAD!
Fred Vanderhoof, Chair of Fresno County Republic Party, is against sanctuary state laws.
The third is SB54, known as law of Sanctuary State, which prohibits all California security forces from sharing information with immigration if it is not a court order.
Sessions, who has blamed sanctuary city policies for crime and gang violence, spoke Wednesday to groups representing police chiefs, sheriffs, district attorneys, narcotics investigators and the California Highway Patrol. Justice Department officials said that violates the Constitution's supremacy clause, which renders state laws invalid if they conflict with federal ones. "We've seen this B-rated movie before", he said.
Assemblyman David Chiu, who carried the bill to protect undocumented immigrant workers, said he was "disturbed", but not surprised, by the lawsuit.