Sheriffs Group Rallies Against California Sanctuary Laws

SACRAMENTO (CN) –A prominent law enforcement lobbying group which represents all of California’s elected county sheriffs is putting its weight behind the Trump administration’s assault on the state’s sanctuary laws.

In a proposed friend-of-the-court briefing filed Friday, the National Sheriffs’ Association said a judge should rule in favor of the federal government and overturn the state immigration laws it claims endanger officers and public safety.

“Laws like Senate Bill 54 and Assembly Bill 450 are not only flagrantly unconstitutional but extremely dangerous to both the safety of the American people and the integrity of our federal republic,” said Dale Wilcox, executive director of the Immigration Reform Law Institute in a statement.

The law institute filed friend-of-the-court briefs on behalf of the sheriffs, an immigration reform group and Southern California cities Escondido, Mission Viejo and Yorba Linda. The briefs filed in support of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ motion for preliminary injunction claim the laws force officers and municipalities to ignore federal laws and “harbor” undocumented immigrants.

“The challenged provisions of [the laws] not only are pre-empted because they stand as obstacles to congressional purposes behind federal immigration law, but that the challenged provisions violate the Supremacy Clause directly, by mandating that local officials attempt to block federal officers from performing their duty,” the filing states.

In a lawsuit experts say is destined to eventually reach the Supreme Court, Sessions is targeting three recently enacted California immigration bills signed by Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown. The lawsuit filed in Sacramento federal court says the bills violate the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution and hamper federal immigration actions.

The Trump administration is targeting the signature piece of a sweeping 2017 package of bills that increased protections for undocumented immigrants. Known as the Sanctuary State law, SB 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.

The suit also challenges AB 450 which bars California employers from releasing the immigration status of their employees without a court order and a bill requiring state inspections of federal detention facilities.

U.S. District Judge John Mendez has already allowed more than a dozen Republican-led states to file supporting briefs. He has also denied California’s request to transfer the case to San Francisco, the venue where it has already sued the federal government 29 times since 2017.

A hearing on the federal government’s motion for preliminary injunction is set for June 20 in Sacramento. The court will allow California’s lawyers to depose acting U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement director Thomas Homan.

The California State Sheriffs’ Association came out against SB 54 during the legislative process while the state police chiefs association was neutral.



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