Trump Administration Sues California Over Sanctuary State Law

On March 6th, 2018, the Los Angeles Times reported that the Trump Administration filed a lawsuit against California over certain state laws that were enacted to protect undocumented immigrants. Our law firm has discussed California’s so-called ‘sanctuary state laws’ in previous posts. While far from perfect, these laws do provide much needed protections for undocumented immigrants in California.

Unfortunately, California’s sanctuary legislation is now facing a sharp attack from the United States federal government, most notably from the Department of Justice (DOJ), which is led by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. In this article, our immigration attorney in Los Angeless highlight three things you should know about the DOJ’s lawsuit against California.

1. The Federal Government is Challenging Three Different California Laws

In response to President Trump taking office, California state officials enacted several different laws designed to protect immigrants. In this case, the Department of Justice is directly challenging three of these laws. Specifically, the DOJ lawsuit is seeking to invalidate:

  • SB 54: Referred to as the California Values Act, this is the sanctuary state law that restricts the ability that state and local law enforcement officials have in providing certain forms of cooperation with federal immigration officers.
  • AB 103: This law gives the California attorney general the authority to review any facility in the state where immigrants are being detained while they await a date for a hearing in an immigration court.
  • AB 450: This is California’s anti-workplace raid legislation. It prevents California employers from allowing immigration officers to gain access to nonpublic places during an immigration raid, unless the immigration officers can present a valid warrant.

2. The DOJ Argues that California is Violating the Supremacy Clause

The core legal argument of the Department of Justice is that California is violating the Supremacy Clause by enacting and enforcing these new laws. On those grounds, the DOJ contends that California’s laws are unconstitutional. The Supremacy Clause rules that federal law takes precedence over state law in many different circumstances. In assessing the validity of California’s laws, the court will need to determine the precise effect of the Supremacy Clause in the case.  

3. Even if the Trump Administration Wins, Many Sanctuary Policies Could Survive

This is an incredibly important lawsuit. Our legal team will be paying very close attention to any developments and all related court decisions. That being said, even if the Trump Administration prevails, which is far from guaranteed, it will not mean the end of all state and local sanctuary policies. However, some policies may need to be re-crafted. Ultimately, the specific language used by the court will make a significant difference.

We Support Immigrant Rights in Southern California

At the Goldstein Immigration Lawyers, our top-rated immigration lawyer in Los Angeless always keep up to date on the latest developments in state and federal immigration policy. To find out more about what our team can do for you, please call us now at (213) 262-2000. We represent clients throughout the region, including in Los Angeles, Inglewood, Burbank, Santa Monica, and Downey.

Josh Goldstein
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