Justice Department Sues California Over Sanctuary Policies

March 7, 2018 Updated: March 10, 2018

The Department of Justice (DOJ) hit California with a lawsuit on March 6 in response to the state’s sanctuary policies.

The lawsuit takes aim at three California bills that the DOJ says intentionally obstruct and discriminate against the enforcement of federal immigration law.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions traveled to Sacramento, California, on March 7 to announce the lawsuit.

“I understand that we have a wide variety of political opinions out there on immigration. But the law is in the books and its purpose is clear,” Sessions said. “There is no nullification. There is no secession. Federal law is the supreme law of the land.

There is no nullification. There is no secession. Federal law is the supreme law of the land.
— Jeff Sessions, attorney general

“A refusal to apprehend and deport those, especially the criminal element, effectively rejects all immigration law and creates an open borders system. Open borders is a radical, irrational idea that cannot be accepted.”

The first bill, Assembly Bill 450, prohibits private employers from voluntarily cooperating with federal immigration officials. California Attorney General Becerra warned business owners that they face a fine ranging from $2,000 to $10,000 if they cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

The second, Senate Bill 54, restricts state and local law enforcement officials from providing information to ICE about the release date of removable criminal aliens who are in their custody. Instead, the criminals are often released back into the community.

The third, Assembly Bill 103, imposes a state-run inspection and review scheme of the federal detention of aliens held in state and local facilities, according to DOJ.

The lawsuit comes a week after Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf publicly warned of an impending ICE operation in her area. Acting ICE Director Tom Homan said the warning meant that 864 criminal aliens and public safety threats remained at large in the community.

California Gov. Jerry Brown criticized Sessions’ visit, tweeting out that “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!!!”

However, Sessions said he simply wants California to follow the law.

“Contrary to what you might hear from the lawless open borders radicals, we are not asking California, Oakland, or anyone else to enforce immigration laws,” Sessions said. “We are simply asking California and other sanctuary jurisdictions to stop actively obstructing federal law enforcement.”


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