*Practice limited to federal immigration law. Licensed in NY, MA, but not in CA.

California’s Sanctuary State Law Will Stand

As reported by the Los Angeles Daily News, the Supreme Court of the United States will not hear the Trump Administration’s challenge to California’s sanctuary state law. Thus, the state’s critically important 2017 law that provided additional protections to immigrants has been upheld and it will remain in place. Below, our Los Angeles immigration law attorney offers a more comprehensive explanation of the reasoning behind and implications of the Supreme Court’s decision. 

The Challenge: California’s Sanctuary State Law and Preemption

In 2017, California lawmakers passed reforms limiting the amount of cooperation behind state and local law enforcement officers and federal immigration authorities. Among other things, the law prohibited state law enforcement officials from providing inmate release dates and other sensitive information to federal immigration officers and it barred officers from transferring most inmates directly to ICE. 

Soon after California enacted its sanctuary state policies, the Trump Administration began its attack. They filed a lawsuit in federal court, arguing the law is unconstitutional on the grounds of preemption. Essentially, preemption is a legal doctrine that, in some circumstances, allows the higher authority of the federal government to overrule state or local regulations. As an example, regulations from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) often limit what individual states are allowed to do. 

7 to 2 Ruling: No Hearing on California’s Sanctuary State Law

While preemption is certainly an important legal doctrine, the Trump Administration tried to expand it well beyond the breaking point in order to limit states from becoming sanctuary jurisdictions. After an unsuccessful initial appeal, the Administration challenged the matter to the nation’s highest court. 

In a 7 to 2 decision, the court has declined to hear arguments in the case of United States v. California. Notably, three of the courts five conservative justices—including both justices appointed by President Trump—ruled against the Administration. It is a clear rebuke of an Administration that tried to overstep its authority and force California taxpayers to subsidize its draconian immigration enforcement policies at the state level. 

A Big Win for Fairness and Immigrant Rights in California

As the Supreme Court refused to even hear the Trump Administration’s arguments, the initial decision from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will remain in place. California’s sanctuary state laws are entirely constitutional and the state and local law enforcement officers are not required to help the federal government conduct immigration officer operations. While there is still a long way to go to develop and enhance immigrant rights, it is still an important win. The decision confirms that state and local governments have the ability to step up and help protect immigrants and their families when the federal government refuses to do so. 

We Advocate for Immigrants in Los Angeles

At Goldstein Immigration Lawyers, our mission is to protect the rights and interests of immigrants and their family members. We handle the full range of immigration law matters. Contact us now for a completely confidential evaluation of your case. We represent immigrants throughout California, including in Los Angeles, Anaheim, Santa Barbara, Riverside, Palmdale, Ventura, Long Beach, and Temecula.