SACRAMENTO (CN) – A week after conducting widespread immigration sweeps throughout California, the Trump administration sued Gov. Jerry Brown late Tuesday for enacting sanctuary laws that “obstruct” and “impede” federal immigration agents.
The federal lawsuit says three recently-passed immigration bills violate the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution and jeopardize the safety of federal agents and California residents.
“The provisions of state law at issue have the purpose and effect of making it more difficult for federal immigration officers to carry out their responsibilities in California,” the complaint filed in Sacramento states.
The Department of Justice is targeting the signature piece of a sweeping 2017 package of bills that increased protections for undocumented immigrants. Known as the Sanctuary State law, Senate Bill 54 prohibits state and local law enforcement from cooperating with immigration agents without a court order and creates safe zones around schools, courts and hospitals.
“California has chosen to purposefully contradict the will and responsibility of the Congress to protect our Homeland,” Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said in a statement.
In the latest encounter between the nation’s most populous state and the Trump administration, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is asking the court to bar California from enforcing the contentious new laws.
Brown, who is being sued along with California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, responded to the lawsuit in Trump-fashion.
“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!!!,” Brown said in a written statement.
The lawsuit comes on the eve of Sessions’ speech at the Law Enforcement Legislative Day hosted by the California Peace Officers’ Association in Sacramento. The nation’s top law enforcement official will promise to “fight these unjust, unfair and unconstitutional policies that have been imposed on you,” according to advanced excerpts of his speech.
Becerra says California’s laws are on solid ground and that they work “in concert” with federal laws.
“We’re in the business of public safety, not deportation,” Becerra said in a media call Tuesday night.
Along with SB 54, the lawsuit cites Assembly Bill 450 which bars California employers from releasing the immigration status of their employees and Assembly Bill 103 which mandates state inspections of federal detention facilities.