Trump administration files lawsuit against California over sanctuary city laws

Trump administration files lawsuit against California over sanctuary city laws

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] filed a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] Tuesday against California in the US District Court for the Eastern District of California [official site] seeking declaratory judgment and injustice relief against three California immigration laws.

The three laws at issue were enacted last year and extend protection for immigrants living in the US illegally. The White House and DOJ view them as a direct response, and obstruction, of federal immigration law that the Trump administration has put into effect, thereby violating the Supremacy Clause [materials] of the US Constitution.

The complaint argues:

The United States has undoubted, preeminent authority to regulate immigration matters. This authority derives from the United States Constitution and numerous acts of Congress. California has no authority to enforce laws that obstruct or otherwise conflict with, or discriminate against, federal immigration enforcement efforts.

Specifically, these laws make it illegal for employers to voluntarily help federal agents find and detain undocumented workers, restrict local law enforcement’s ability to contact immigration officials when detainees are released from custody, and creates a state inspection program for federal detention centers.

While President Trump and the DOJ have been critical of these laws in the past, the filing of a lawsuit is the administration’s most direct challenge yet and will likely set up a prolonged legal struggle over the scope of federal and state authority regarding immigration that will eventually works its way into the Supreme Court.