SACRAMENTO (CBSLA) — Attorney General Jeff Sessions will be in Sacramento Wednesday morning to announce the Justice Department will sue the state of California, Governor Jerry Brown and state Attorney General Xavier Becerra for interfering with federal immigration activities.
The lawsuit asks the court to prevent California from implementing three state laws which the Department of Justice alleges “intentionally obstruct and discriminate” against the enforcement of federal immigration law.
The lawsuit claims these state laws are preempted by federal law and violate the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution.
Here are the laws in question:
Assembly Bill 450 prohibits private employers from voluntarily cooperating with federal immigration officials.
Senate Bill 54 restricts state and local law enforcement from voluntarily providing information to federal immigration authorities about the release date of removable criminal aliens who are in their custody. In addition to violating the Supremacy Clause, DOJ alleges that SB 54 violates a law enacted by Congress which promotes sharing information related to immigration enforcement.
Assembly Bill 103 imposes a state-run inspection and review of the federal detention of undocumented immigrants held in facilities pursuant to federal contracts.
No word on whether the DOJ will charge Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf for tipping off people about ICE raids. ICE said the warning from Schaaf allowed hundreds of people to escape detention.
Sessions will announce the lawsuit Wednesday when he addresses the annual Law Enforcement Legislative Day Convention in Sacramento.
Both sides of the immigration debate in California reacted to the lawsuit.
California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De León is the Los Angeles Democrat who wrote the sanctuary state bill.
“We’re sick and tired of this federal government picking on California. We’re sick and tired of this federal government bullying California. We’re the sixth economy in the world. We’re America’s economic engine,” said De León. “When I say to the Trump Administration and Jeff Sessions, if you think you’re going to take on California, good luck and bring it on.”
But Arthur Schaper with LA County for Trump says Senate Bill 54 goes against federal law.
“It’s about time the federal government – the Trump Administration – cracked down on the state of California,” said Schaper. “It’s a punch back to the lawlessness that’s rampant in the state of California. Not just in the Trump Administration but during the eight years of the Obama Administration that didn’t enforce immigration law.”
Last year, California enacted the sanctuary laws, which restricted when and how law enforcement can cooperate with federal immigration enforcement officers.
Jean Reisz is a professor at USC’s law school and runs its immigration clinic.
“I think it’s going to be a hard fought case. I know the California legislature really made a lot of compromises to make sure that this law would stand up in court and that it won’t be found in violation of federal law,” said Reisz.
Using a bit of “Trumpism” Brown hit back at Sessions with this tweet: