U.S. Customs and Border Protections/Flickr (Public Domain)
According to the Associated Press, the Trump administration filed the suit against the state of California, Gov. Jerry Brown, and Attorney General Xavier Becerra on Tuesday, arguing that the laws are unconstitutional and have kept immigration agents from doing their jobs.
The California laws, passed in defiance against the administration’s ardent crackdown on the existence of undocumented immigrants in the U.S., include prohibitions on police asking about someone’s citizenship status and participating in federal immigration enforcement; on employers letting immigration agents into worksites or view hiring documents without a subpoena or warrant; and on local governments contracting with for-profit companies and ICE to hold immigrants.
Justice Department officials are arguing that these laws violate the Constitution’s supremacy clause, rendering state laws invalid when they conflict with the federal laws. In July, Sessions announced that only cities and states cooperating with immigration agents could receive certain grants. California, however, has sued the Trump administration to release one barred grant, seeking a judge to certify that its laws are in compliance with federal laws.
While Sessions has previously linked sanctuary cities to crime and gang violence, proponents of these policies say they increase public safety by allowing undocumented immigrants to report crimes and participate in policing efforts without fear of deportation.
“The Department of Justice and the Trump administration are going to fight these unjust, unfair, and unconstitutional policies that have been imposed on you,” Sessions said in a statement directed at law enforcement. “I believe that we are going to win.”
Californians, however, aren’t perturbed by the suit.
“I say, ‘Bring it on,'” California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, who wrote the sanctuary state bill, told the AP.