Trump administration sues California to block laws limiting cooperation with immigration authorities

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Trump administration is suing to block California laws that extend protections for immigrants living in the United States illegally.

The lawsuit says three state laws intentionally undermine federal immigration law. Among other things, the legislation bars police from asking people about their immigration status or participating in federal immigration enforcement activities. Another law offers protection against workplace raids.

The Justice Department says those laws hinder immigration authorities and are unconstitutional.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is expected to announce the lawsuit Wednesday at an annual gathering of law enforcement organizations in Sacramento.

The move is the latest volley in an escalating feud between the Trump administration and California. The state has defiantly refused to help federal agents detain and deport undocumented immigrants. Sessions says that makes cities more dangerous.

Here is a statement from Mayor Libby Schaaf before the announcement was leaked:

Oakland, CA – “Oakland is a city of immigrants. We will continue to exercise our legal right to exist as a sanctuary city. We will continue to inform all residents about their Constitutional rights, and we will continue to support California’s sanctuary status.

“We will also distinguish between law abiding residents who work hard and contribute to our community from dangerous criminals.

“This administration has tried to portray all immigrants as villains. We know that is a racist lie, and we will shed light on that myth every day.

“This administration also wants residents to cower and stay silent.

“In Oakland, we will stand up and speak out.”

And Gov. Jerry Brown has issued this statement:

“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!!!”

The text of Governor Brown’s Senate Bill 54 signing message – issued last October – is copied below and clearly spells out what California law does and doesn’t do:

October 5, 2017

To the Members of the California State Senate:

I am signing Senate Bill 54, the California Values Act.

This bill states that local authorities will not ask about immigration status during routine interactions. It also bans unconstitutional detainer requests and prohibits the commandeering of local officials to do the work of immigration agents. The bill further directs our Attorney General to promulgate model policies for local and state health, education, labor and judiciary officials to follow when they deal with immigration matters.

In enshrining these new protections, it is important to note what the bill does not do. This bill does not prevent or prohibit Immigration and Customs Enforcement or the Department of Homeland Security from doing their own work in any way. They are free to use their own considerable resources to enforce federal immigration law in California. Moreover, the bill does not prohibit sheriffs from granting immigration authorities access to California jails to conduct routine interviews, nor does it prevent cooperation in deportation proceedings for anyone in state prison or for those in local jails for any of the hundreds of serious offenses listed in the TRUST Act.

These are uncertain times for undocumented Californians and their families, and this bill strikes a balance that will protect public safety, while bringing a measure of comfort to those families who are now living in fear every day.


Edmund G. Brown Jr.



Bay Area News

Video Center

Trending Stories


Latest News

Stay Connected

  • Download the free KRON4 News App
    Copyright 2018 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.