March 18, 2018

California lawmakers denounce Jeff Sessions over immigration lawsuit

08 March 2018, 12:19 | Virginia Santiago

Attorney General Jeff Sessions testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee last October. Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Attorney General Jeff Sessions testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee last October

It permits information-sharing and coordination between federal and state law enforcement officers when the immigrant in question has been convicted of one of some 800 crimes within the past 15 years.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions says the Department of Justice sued California because the state's "sanctuary" immigration policies defies common sense. "It wasn't something I chose to do, but I can't sit by idly while the lawful authority of federal officers are being blocked by legislative acts and politicians", Sessions said, straying from his prepared remarks. "This is a political stunt", Brown said.

The Trump administration past year announced plans to withhold federal grant money from jurisdictions deemed to refuse cooperation with ICE. "They've pled guilty already to the special counsel".

"This is basically going to war against the State of California", Mr. "It's not wise, it's not right, and it will not stand", Brown said.

The suit, filed in the federal court in the eastern district of California, challenges three statutes that the state has passed in support of cities that have refused to meet the demands of federal immigration authorities to hand over undocumented immigrants for prosecution or expulsion. Assembly bill 450 created rules for how employers must handle federal immigration audit requests, commonly called I-9 audits.

Federal agents have netted more than 230 undocumented immigrants in recent raids from Sacramento to the Bay Area according to ICE.

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Under California's sanctuary state law, local law enforcement officers are not allowed to participate or even help federal agents. Opponents of the third measure, S.B. AB 103 tries to give California the power to regulate the federal government, they say, by allowing access to federal law enforcement records housed in detention facilities.

Jerry Brown, and Attorney General Xavier Becerra on Tuesday, arguing that the laws are unconstitutional and have kept immigration agents from doing their jobs. He called it an "embarrassment for the great state of California". There is no secession. "How dare you needlessly endanger the lives of our law enforcement officers to promote a radical open borders agenda". He believes that Sessions is only trying to polarize and divide the country.

"And I think that that is a fair criticism and statement", Sessions said.

But the Trump administration faces a serious practical difficulty if it hopes to prevail with this claim: It will need to find five votes on the Supreme Court, and conservative Justice Clarence Thomas - who in a 2009 opinion wrote that he is "increasingly skeptical of this Court's "purposes and objectives" pre-emption jurisprudence" - may not join a majority opinion.

"Matters have arisen-both recently and otherwise-which necessitate the appointment of a Special Counsel. There are more indictments to come". Becerra said the lawsuit would fail.

Becerra, on his part, defended the constitutionality of California laws and said that state and local entities had the right to determine policies that were best for them. The Sacramento Bee cataloged 17 different lawsuits filed by California against the Trump administration in 2017.

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