The Justice Department is suing California; Gov. Jerry Brown; and the state’s attorney general, Xavier Becerra, over state laws passed in recent months, saying they make it impossible for federal officials to do their jobs and deport criminals born outside of the United States. The Justice Department calls the laws unconstitutional and asked a judge to block them.
Other jurisdictions like Connecticut, New York City, NY, Jersey City, Union City, Hoboken, and Newark, New Jersey are also on a federal list of potential lawsuits over similar laws or Ordinances.
The lawsuit also serves as a warning to Democratic lawmakers and elected officials nationwide who have enacted sanctuary policies that provide protections for illegal immigrants.
“The Department of Justice and the Trump administration are going to fight these unjust, unfair and unconstitutional policies that have been imposed on you,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions will say on Wednesday at a law enforcement event in Sacramento, according to prepared remarks. “I believe that we are going to win.”
California began battling the Trump administration even before the president took office, standing in opposition on a litany of issues including marijuana, environmental regulations and taxes. But immigration has proved to be the most contentious fight with local officials assuring undocumented immigrants that they would do all they could to protect them.
Last year, California enacted the sanctuary laws, which place restrictions on when and how local law enforcement can cooperate with federal immigration enforcement agents.
Both Mr. Sessions and Mr. Trump have threatened to pull federal grant money from cities and states that have sanctuary laws to protect undocumented immigrants. They argue that the policies flout federal laws and help criminals evade deportation.
And the Justice Department asked 23 jurisdictions across the country this year to provide documentation that they had not kept information from federal immigration authorities, or receive a subpoena for the information. It is also exploring possible criminal charges for local politicians who enact sanctuary policies.
The lawsuit expected to be filed on Tuesday evening in Federal District Court in Sacramento is the first against a local or state government over its immigration policies filed by the Justice Department under Mr. Sessions.
Department officials said that they would not rule out the possibility of other lawsuits against local governments whose policies interfere with the federal government’s authority on immigration. Colorado, Illinois, New Mexico, Oregon and Vermont have state sanctuary laws, as do cities and counties in more than a dozen states, according to the Center for Immigration Studies.
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