Wednesday, March 7, 2018

No Sanctuary In The Trump Era

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has threatened to take legal action against sanctuary policies and the state and local governments that have them almost since day one of the Trump regime, and this week he made good on that promise as the DoJ is now suing California over its sanctuary state laws.

The lawsuit targets three state laws that interfere with federal immigration enforcement and violate the Constitution, according to the complaint filed Tuesday in federal court in Sacramento.

Specifically, the statutes at issue restrict state and local law enforcement entities, as well as private employers, from sharing information about undocumented immigrants with federal agencies including Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Justice Department said in the lawsuit.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who is scheduled to visit Sacramento Wednesday, and Homeland Security officials have threatened for months to take punitive action against the largest U.S. state over its refusal to help ramp up deportations. Just last week, a top administration official accused the mayor of Oakland, one of California’s largest cities, of sabotaging a federal raid targeting undocumented
immigrants after she issued a public warning about the enforcement action.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra -- named individually as a defendant in the lawsuit -- said local police will continue to work “in concert” with federal agents on issues related to drug enforcement and sex trafficking, but the Trump administration remains misguided in its attempts to encumber enforcement of California laws aimed at protecting its undocumented residents.

“We’re in the business of public safety, not deportation, and we’ll continue to uphold all of the laws, including AB450 and SB54,” he said at a press briefing in San Francisco shortly after the case was made public. “Our track record so far with this administration in court has been pretty good. We’ve proven that California is doing things the way it should, and also proven that it’s the Trump administration that has acted outside of the law.”

Sessions plans to discuss the lawsuit during a speech he is scheduled to give on Wednesday at a law enforcement conference in Sacramento.

“The Department of Justice and the Trump administration are going to fight these unjust, unfair and unconstitutional policies that have been imposed,” Sessions wrote in his prepared remarks. “We are fighting to make your jobs safer and to help you reduce crime in America.”

It's been an ugly fight so far, with Sessions threatening to withhold billions in federal funding from sanctuary cities generating a court fight that's still ongoing, the Trump regime broadly threatening to move ICE agents out of the state while trying to turn ICE and the Boder Patrol into intelligence agencies, and Oakland's mayor informing the city's residents of a major ICE raid in the city last month.

I remain convinced that the goal here is a major Supreme Court ruling that gives the Trump regime broad search and deportation powers that would certainly be used, and one that hamstrings states from protecting the undocumented at all.  Federal courts have long said that states cannot be compelled to enforce federal laws, so that's going to strike out, I hope.  (Remember Medicaid expansion being shot down by the Roberts Court for that reason?)

But such a massive deportation machine may go into action anyway once the detention and arrest infrastructure is built, and new facilities and new ICE and Border Patrol agents are being pressed into service as we speak.  Trump may not be able to make states comply which is why he wants a large enough federal force to make that a moot point.  Alarm bells should be ringing off the walls here.

It won't be long now before such an attempt is made.

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