Trump Sues California Over Three Laws Designed To Frustrate Immigration Enforcement

Jeff SessionsThe Trump administration sued California in a federal district court late Tuesday over its “sanctuary city” designation, arguing federal immigration law preempts three of the state’s laws.

The Department of Justice noted in a statement one of the three laws prohibits private employees from “voluntarily cooperating with immigration officials” and requires employers to give employees advance notice of a potential worksite enforcement inspection.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, named a defendant in the suit, said after the law became effective Jan. 1 that he would “prosecute those who violate [Assembly Bill 450] by voluntarily cooperating with Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) efforts.” He later told employers that under the new law they can’t voluntarily grant ICE agents “physical access to nonpublic areas of the worksite or to employee records” without triggering legal penalties.

The second California law challenged bars state and local law enforcement officials from informing federal immigration agents of the release date of criminal aliens and prohibits state employees from transferring criminal aliens to federal custody, except in narrow circumstances. This one, Senate Bill 54, also became effective on Jan. 1.

The third bill, Assembly Bill 103 adopted June 27 of last year, authorized the California AG to inspect immigration detention facilities in the state to examine the “due process provided” immigration detainees, and “the circumstances around their apprehension and transfer to the facility.” This law also requires detention facilities to provide state officials access to confidential federal records.

The DOJ argues in its complaint the three laws — AB 450, SB 54, and AB 103 — conflict with federal immigration law and are thus invalid under the Supremacy Clause. With the complaint, the DOJ filed a motion for a preliminary injunction, seeking to pause enforcement of the California statutes until the lawsuit is played out in court. …

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