The Trump Justice Department filed a lawsuit Tuesday night against California, saying three recently passed state laws were deliberately interfering with federal immigration policies.
The willful interference marks the latest legal and political confrontation with the nation’s most populous state. Under the Trump administration, the federal government says California has repeatedly stood in the way of its plans to step up enforcement actions in the workplace and against criminal aliens, reported Fox News.
“The Department of Justice and the Trump Administration are going to fight these unjust, unfair, and unconstitutional policies,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions was expected to tell California law enforcement officers on Wednesday. “We are fighting to make your jobs safer and to help you reduce crime in America.”
The state’s Democratic governor, Jerry Brown, fired back: “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 federal government seeks an injunction to immediately block enforcement of the three California laws, each enacted within the past year.
One specific law offers additional worker protections against federal immigration enforcement actions. As a result, Justice Department officials have said it’s prevented companies from voluntarily cooperating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents.
Under the law businesses are essentially prohibited from cooperating with federal authorities. Employers are mandated to demand ICE agents present a warrant or subpoena before entering certain areas of the premises, or when accessing some employee records.
Consequently, some companies have complained they’ve felt torn between trying to comply with seemingly contradictory state and federal statutes, since penalties for non-compliance can be steep from both entities. The conflict is real and people are feeling pinched.
Another state law known by critics as the “sanctuary state” bill protects immigrants without legal residency by limiting state and municipal cooperation with the feds, including what information can be shared about illegal-immigrant inmates.
So not only are businesses unable to cooperate with federal authorities under new California state law, but local and state peace officers are as well.
Moreover, another law takes the roll of “big brother” to extremes.
A third law gives state officials the power to monitor and inspect immigrant detention facilities either run directly by, or contracted through, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. There is no doubt that stiff sanctions will be imposed if the state even gets a whiff of local agencies violating their new laws.
The Justice Department has said it’s confident the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause gives it broad authority to supersede state laws that it says interfere with its immigration enforcement obligations.
Still, state officials in the past have cited the 10th Amendment’s guarantee of states not being compelled to enforce federal laws. But there is a big difference between “compelled” and “interference.”
“We’ve seen this B-rated movie before. So we’re not totally surprised,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in response to the new lawsuit.
So Becerra is making light of the federal government trying to enforce immigration law. If California Democrats were honest, they’d readily admit their actions are about importing an electorate. It has nothing to do with compassion.
If illegal immigrants camped in their personal backyards (Brown, Becerra, etc. which undoubtedly have fences) and spent money from the private checking accounts of these same liberal politicians, they’d probably sing a different tune. But it’s okay to allow people flaunting federal immigration law to find permanent residence in someone else’s yard, and siphon from the public trough if it expands the liberal base.
This political behavior has nothing to do with compassion. It is unabashedly about expanding power. And it’s at the expense of taxpayers and law-abiding citizens.
The Justice Department is also reviewing Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf’s decision to warn of an immigration sweep in advance, which ICE said allowed hundreds of immigrants to escape detention. “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,” the Democratic mayor responded.
If a private citizen did the same thing, an arrest would be warranted.
An estimated 2.5 million immigrants are believed to be in California illegally. And liberal politicians refer to them as “residents” and “neighbors.” In the most recent figures, ICE has reported about 16 percent of its enforcement apprehensions take place in that state.
The latest legal action by the Trump administration is part of an aggressive push to enforce existing immigration laws, with Sessions in previous remarks citing a porous U.S. border with Mexico, and the threat of criminal activity by immigrant gangs.
Federal officials repeatedly have cited the case of Kate Steinle, shot to death by an illegal alien and seven-time felon in San Francisco, one of 35 communities in the state declaring itself a “sanctuary city.”
The Justice Department in January threatened California and other states with subpoenas and a loss of grant money for repeatedly failing to respond to requests for immigration compliance under a federal law known as Section 1373.
What is interesting is that some state politicians, like Gov. Brown, use federal law when it benefits them. I.e. funds filtering their way. But refuse to cooperate when the same federal government simply desires to enforce immigration laws.
Federal officials would not say whether other states were at risk of similar lawsuits over their alleged non-compliance with immigration laws.
A coordinated ICE enforcement action last month on businesses in the Los Angeles area netted 212 people arrested for violating federal immigration laws, 88 percent of whom were convicted criminals, officials said.