The Justice Department is suing California, Governor Jerry Brown, and the state’s attorney general, Xavier Becerra, over three state laws passed in recent months to protect the rights of immigrants.
Attorney General Sessions made a formal announcement regarding the lawsuit and California’s “extreme postion” during a visit to Sacramento at the 26th Annual Law Enforcement Legislative Day, hosted by the California Peace Officers’ Association–a group that opposed Senate Bill 54, which rolled back California’s involvement in unjust deportations.
Said Grisel Ruiz, staff attorney at the Immigrant Legal Resource Center:
“The Trump administration’s threat against California is an affront to state residents and the local elected officials who have passed crucial laws to assure their communities that they will prioritize their safety and uphold their rights. Presidents, attorneys general and federal agencies should not dictate the laws and policies of California, or any other state, over the will of voters who supported the passage of critical laws being assailed today because they protect immigrants. By declining to voluntarily spend their resources on a federal effort to round-up immigrants and separate them from their families, California is standing strong and not standing down.
“ICE is a rogue agency and Californians, through these three laws passed through our bipartisan legislature, have made clear that we want no part of ICE’s unlawful practices. While ICE routinely flouts the constitution, taking action and making requests of local law enforcement that can result in racial profiling and prolonged detention in local jails, California has pushed back hard with policies and practices that affirm our shared values. We have doubled down on our commitment to due process, a guaranteed right under the U.S., transparency, and keeping families together.
“Immigrants are intrinsic to California’s past, present, and future. Even in the face of abuses of power, never-ending intimidation, and retaliation from this White House, we will defend our residents against unjust and illegal detention and deportations. We urge all elected officials to denounce this despicable action from Trump’s Justice Department before the American public loses faith in the integrity of our democracy.”
ILRC’s report “The Rise of Sanctuary: Getting Local Law Enforcement out of the Business of Deportation” documents the strengthening of sanctuary protections across 410 localities and five states in 2017, restricting the use of their agencies’ time, money, or other resources from being spent on federal immigration enforcement efforts. The ILRC helped draft language for SB 54, also known as the California Values Act, and supported its final passage to reduce the influence of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the state and disentangle local law enforcement officers from ICE’s deportation efforts. The ILRC, in partnership with community-based groups, led a two-year campaign around immigration jail reform, supporting the passage of AB 103.