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Federal appeals court upholds California’s sanctuary state law
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Federal appeals court upholds California’s sanctuary state law

The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on Thursday upheld a district judge’s ruling that California’s controversial “sanctuary state” law does not conflict with federal immigration law.

The US government challenged three California state laws: AB 450, which requires employers to alert employees before federal immigration inspections; AB 103, which imposes inspection requirements on facilities that house civil immigration detainees; and SB 54, which limits the cooperation between state and local law enforcement and federal immigration authorities. The US sought a preliminary injunction, contending that the three laws violated the doctrine of intergovernmental immunity and the doctrine of conflict preemption.

The three-judge panel affirmed the district court decision with respect to AB 450 on the grounds that the district court did not abuse its discretion when concluding that AB 450’s employee notice provisions neither burden the federal government nor conflict with federal activities. With respect to SB 54, the panel also concluded that the district court did not abuse its discretion when it concluded that any obstruction caused by SB 54 is consistent with California’s prerogatives under the Tenth Amendment and the anti-commandeering rule.

The panel upheld provisions of AB 103 that duplicate inspection requirements otherwise mandated under California law and are imposed on state and local detention facilities. However, the panel held that one subsection of AB 103, California Government Code section 12532(b)(1)(C), which requires examination of the circumstances surrounding the apprehension and transfer of immigration detainees, discriminates against and impermissibly burdens the federal government.