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Judge Refuses to Block Most California Sanctuary Laws

author Published by Admins

Sacramento-based Judge John Mendez turned down Trump Administration requests for a preliminary injunction on California laws that limit cooperation with ICE (SB 54) and enable the state attorney general to inspect privately-owned federal detention centers (AB 103). But the judge blocked provisions of another law (AB 450) that requires employers to deny ICE access to nonpublic worksite areas or employee records without a warrant.

The Administration argued that a 1996 federal anti-sanctuary law prevents California from refusing to hold alien prisoners for ICE pick-up or inform ICE about their expected release date. But Judge Mendez ruled that ICE information directives amount to a “commandeering” of state resources, a violation of the Tenth Amendment of the Constitution. He wrote “Refusing to help is not the same as impeding…Federal objectives will always be furthered if states offer to assist federal efforts. A state’s decision not to assist in those activities will always make the federal object more difficult to attain than it would be otherwise. Standing aside does not equate to standing in the way.”

Judge Mendez said the law empowering California’s attorney general to investigate private detention facilities will provide for “increased transparency…This review process does not purport to give California a role in determining whether an immigrant should be detained or removed from the country.”

In blocking provisions of AB 450, Judge Mendez ruled that California’s law limiting employer cooperation with ICE amounted to “meddling” with federal immigration enforcement, a violation of the Supremacy Clause. He wrote, “Irrespective of the State’s interest in protecting workers, the Court finds that the warrant requirement may impede immigration enforcement’s investigation of employers or other matters within their authority to investigate.” 

Responding to the judge’s decision, the Justice Department issued a statement: “The preliminary injunction of AB 450 is a major victory for private employers in California who are no longer prevented from cooperating with legitimate enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws. While we are disappointed that California’s other laws designed to protect criminal aliens were not yet halted, the Justice Department will continue to seek out and fight unjust policies that threaten public safety….California’s political leadership clearly intended to obstruct federal immigration authorities in their state.”

Read more in Bloomberg News.

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