Justice Department Sues California Over Immigration Laws

Justice Department Sues California Over Immigration Laws

Justice Department Sues California Over Immigration Laws

Jerry Brown has slammed the Trump administration's latest salvo against the Golden State - the Justice Department announced Tuesday night it is suing to block state laws that extend protections to people living in the USA illegally - claiming it's a move that will "further divide and polarize America".

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is expected to make what is being called a major announcement on "sanctuary jurisdiction" during a speech in Sacramento on Wednesday.

The legal battle pits U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions against California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.

A senior DOJ official made clear that he believed the laws intentionally created obstacles for federal immigration enforcement in California, the state with most illegal aliens in the country. A key part of that effort involves a crackdown on primarily Democrat-governed cities and states that Sessions claims are "sanctuaries" that protect illegal immigrants from deportation. The state has defiantly refused to help federal agents detain and deport undocumented immigrants. Except for those held for a narrow set of serious crimes, these law enforcement officers can not transfer detainees to federal custody voluntarily.

The lawsuit, filed late Tuesday in federal court in Sacramento, the California state capital, takes aim at three state laws passed past year that the Justice Department contends violate the U.S. Constitution.

The Justice Department's lawsuit on Tuesday against California targets three state laws. The DOJ does not plan to argue that Section 1373 requires local law enforcement to hold people exclusively based on ICE requests ― known as "detainers" ― which many jurisdictions have rejected based on cost and constitutionality concerns.

A senior Justice Department official said department lawyers are still evaluating other places' laws and could bring other lawsuits - although the measures California passed stood out as being especially high-profile and transgressive of what Sessions thought was constitutional. This review applies only to facilities with civil immigration detainees.

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

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.

The Trump administration is seeking to block provisions of the law that stop local law enforcement from telling Immigration and Customs Enforcement when they will release certain individuals and from facilitating their transfer unless they've committed certain crimes.

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

Another case in San Francisco argues that the Justice Department's efforts to cut off funding rests on a flawed interpretation of federal immigration law and tramples California's right to enforce its own laws as it sees fit.

ICE Deputy Director Thomas Homan said that hundreds were able to dodge the operation "thanks to the mayor's irresponsible decision".

Brown responded in a statement by calling the lawsuit a "political stunt".

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