Published: Thu, March 08, 2018
Global | By Enrique Rogers

Jeff Sessions slams California immigration policy, says 'sanctuary' laws defy common sense

Jeff Sessions slams California immigration policy, says 'sanctuary' laws defy common sense

The lawsuit targets three laws in particular: the Immigrant Worker Protection Act (HB 450), the Inspection and Review of Facilities Housing Federal Detainees law (AB 103); and the California Values Act (SB 54).

The Justice Department, in a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday, is challenging three California laws that, among other things, bar police from asking people about their citizenship status or participating in federal immigration enforcement activities.

Sessions' appearance at California's capital comes less than two weeks after Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf warned residents of an imminent raid by federal immigration agents, a move harshly criticized by ICE.

"The Department of Justice and the Trump administration are going to fight these unjust, unfair and unconstitutional policies that have been imposed on you", he said in a speech to members of the California Peace Officers Association.

Sessions said, "How dare you needlessly endanger the lives of law enforcement just to promote your radical open borders agenda?"

Ironically, the Obama administration, through Attorney General Eric Holder, challenged an Arizona immigration law on similar grounds to those that Sessions is using to confront California - and prevailed at the Supreme Court.

Continuing a sweep that began early this year, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested 232 undocumented immigrants over four days, ending March 1. He tweeted that it was "about time" for the federal government to end his state's sanctuary laws. Pro Tem Kevin de Leon called Sessions' policies "white nationalism and white supremacy".

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Brown said when signing it in October that the law doesn't interfere with the work of federal immigration agencies, but merely "prohibits the commandeering of local officials to do the work of immigration agents".

The lawsuit, filed in the federal court in Sacramento, steps up President Donald Trump's battle to cut back legal immigration and step up deportation of people without immigration papers.

Demonstrators blocked traffic on a busy street but were peaceful as they protested U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions' decision to sue California over laws that restrict cooperation with federal immigration authorities.

"Here's my message to Mayor Schaaf: 'How dare you!'" the attorney general said. Those who have outstanding orders of deportation, or who returned to the US after being deported, are subject to immediate removal from the country, said the agency in a press statement, adding that the remaining individuals are in ICE custody awaiting a hearing before an immigration judge, or pending travel arrangements for removal in the near future. "It's not wise, it's not right and it will not stand".

"Her actions support those who flout that law, and boldly validates illegality". Sessions said at a news conference. "But it would be no different in principle from this new law enacted by California".

Brown and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra are directly named in the suit - and are ready for the fight.

Dale Wilcox, executive director of the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), argued that the Trump administration is right to hold California jurisdictions accountable.

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