Trump administration claims three of state’s laws violate the Constitution
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) this week filed a lawsuit against the State of California and two high-ranking state officials over so-called “sanctuary” policies that it said unlawfully protect undocumented immigrants against deportation.
The lawsuit announced on Tuesday, March 7 called out three recently-passed state laws that, according to the Trump administration, have hampered the federal government’s enforcement of immigration law.
“California, we have a problem,” U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said at a gathering of law enforcement organizations in Sacramento. “The Department of Justice and the Trump administration are going to fight these unjust, unfair and unconstitutional policies that have been imposed on you.”
The three laws the administration is challenging include SB 54, the all-encompassing “sanctuary state” law that restricted law enforcement from sharing information with federal agents that would lead to the capture and deportation of criminal undocumented immigrants.
The other two laws are AB 450, which prohibits private employers from complying with immigration agents who conduct operations on worksites, and AB 103, which calls for regular inspections of detention facilities that hold immigrants who face deportation.
The two top leaders that the lawsuit also named were California Governor Jerry Brown and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.
Although the federal government is the supreme authority on broad matters like immigration, in some cases, states have sovereignty over more precise issues like health and public safety.
That’s what Becerra asserted at a press conference on Tuesday where he expressed that, through the Tenth Amendment, California has the right to handle public safety in the ways it sees fit. Calmly poised, Becerra assured Californians that the claims made in the lawsuit demonstrated “there’s nothing really new there that we weren’t already familiar with.”
“We’re prepared to deal with this,” Becerra told reporters. “We believe we are in full compliance with the federal constitution and federal law.”
As soon as the Trump administration announced the lawsuit, Brown brazenly fired back at Sessions, calling the move a “political stunt.’
“What Jeff Sessions said is simply not true and I call upon him to apologize to the people of California for bringing the mendacity of Washington to California,” Brown said at a joint press conference with Becerra on Wednesday, March 7.
“This is basically going to war against the State of California, the engine of the American economy,” Brown added. “It’s not wise. It’s not right, and it will not stand.”
Brown also made accusations toward Sessions, who Brown said lied about the state’s immigration policies. Sessions has falsely claimed that Becerra called for an open border, protection for criminals and secession from the U.S.
“We know the Trump administration is full of liars. They have pleaded guilty already to the special counsel,” Brown said, referencing the federal investigation on Russian collusion.
Amid the tense back and forth between Washington and Sacramento, more Californians side with the state rather than the DOJ on the topic of sanctuary policies.
According to a recent ABC7 Eyewitness News/Survey USA poll, nearly half (47 percent) of Californians said that the federal government did “the wrong thing” in suing the state; about 36 percent of them say that the DOJ did “the right thing.”
Earlier in his presidency, Trump signed an executive order that called to rescind federal grant funding to jurisdictions that reject cooperation with U.S. immigration authorities.
The lawsuit comes weeks after the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) conducted multiple raids across California. In the Los Angeles area, more than 150 people were detained and in Northern California, about 232 people were arrested in a massive 4-day sweep, as previously reported by the Asian Journal.
State officials saw these massive raids as a response to the state’s refusal to cooperate with federal immigration officials.
Asian Americans Advancing Justice-California also condemned the lawsuit, calling it an “attack on California’s policies that protect our immigrant communities.”
“Studies have shown that jurisdictions with sanctuary policies are safer and more economically prosperous than non-sanctuary jurisdictions. Immigrants help California thrive,” Advancing Justice-CA said in a statement. “The Trump administration has been obsessive in their attack and scapegoating of immigrants, fueled by hate, xenophobia and racism. But the Constitution is clear: the federal government cannot commandeer California’s resources to carry out deportations.” (Klarize Medenilla/AJPress)