A group of states joined the Trump Administration’s effort to overturn California laws that block or interfere with federal immigration enforcement. Two local governments in California – Orange County and the City of Los Alamitos -- also voted to join the lawsuit and the Orange County sheriff moved to facilitate the deportation work of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) bureau.
This month the Justice Department sued California over state laws that: prohibit local law enforcement from providing the release dates of detained criminal illegal aliens to ICE; bar police from voluntarily transferring detainees to federal custody; and allow California officials to conduct inspections of DHS facilities that house illegal aliens. The Justice Department said that laws prevent ICE from removing dangerous illegal aliens and interfere with the deportation process.
Texas filed to join the lawsuit on behalf of the Attorneys General of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina and West Virginia. The Republican governors of Mississippi and Maine also joined the filing. Their Democratic Attorneys General did not.
The states claim California’s sanctuary laws should be struck down for the same reasons that the U.S. Supreme Court blocked parts of SB 1070, a 2010 Arizona immigration-enforcement law. In that case, the justices said Arizona can’t pursue policies that undermine federal law or interfere with its implementation. The states argue that if Arizona’s laws are preempted under federal law, California’s should be as well. They also claim potential injury, saying shielded criminal aliens may leave California to commit crimes in other states.
The Orange County Board of Supervisors yesterday voted to condemn SB54 and have the county join the Trump Administration’s lawsuit. “We’re not talking here about law-abiding immigrants; we’re talking about criminals,” one board member said. “This SB54 is unconstitutional…Our duty always has to be first and foremost to the citizens.” Another said, “I realize there are a lot of states that don’t care to live by certain rules in the federal government or the Constitution if they disagree with [them]. Last I checked, it’s not optional, even if you don’t like the outcome. And it puts our law enforcement personnel in a very awkward spot. They have to uphold the Constitution and the law. They swore to do that.”
The Orange County Sheriff's Department on Monday started to publicly post the release dates for all inmates, including illegal aliens. This sidesteps the sanctuary law, which prohibits police from informing ICE about the release of illegal aliens. "The provision of the [law] increases the likelihood of dangerous offenders being released back into the community," a Department statement said. "The law, however, does not limit information that is available to the public."
Orange County Undersheriff Don Barnes said, "This is in response to SB-54 limiting our ability to communicate with federal authorities and our concern that criminals are being released to the street when there's another avenue to safeguard the community by handing them over [to ICE for potential deportation]." Since January 1, which the sanctuary law took effect, the department released 172 illegal aliens to the streets without notifying ICE.
Los Alamitos, a city of 12,000 in Orange County, voted last week to exempt itself from the state sanctuary law and to join the Administration’s lawsuit. Other cities are considering similar moves.
Updated: Wed, Apr 11th 2018 @ 1:05pm EDT