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DOJ announces lawsuits against local and state governments over private prison ban, ‘sanctuary’ status
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DOJ announces lawsuits against local and state governments over private prison ban, ‘sanctuary’ status

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced lawsuits Monday against several local and state governments in California, New Jersey and Washington over a private prison ban and laws the administration claims shelter undocumented immigrants.

In California, the DOJ is challenging AB 32, which outlaws private detention facilities in the state of California. The DOJ claims the law raises costs of trial since prisoners will have to relocate more often. They also claim it would be bad for prisoners as it would isolate them from their family and friends because they would have to be relocated out of state. They further claim the government will need to relocate, “nearly 50 percent of its inmates in the Southern District of California and nearly 30 percent of its total California inmates to out-of-state facilities.” This, along with the cost, make the law unbearable to the federal government. They are claiming the law is, “unlawful under the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution because A.B. 32 substantially obstructs the federal government’s housing of federal prisoners and detainees, stands as an obstacle to the accomplishment of congressional objectives related to criminal law and immigration enforcement, directly regulates federal operations, and discriminates against the United States by granting exceptions for California that do not apply to the federal government or its contractors.”

The second suit against New Jersey opposes the New Jersey Attorney General Law Enforcement Directive 2018-6, which prohibits law enforcement from sharing information with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) regarding individuals in their custody and their immigration status. They claim, “New Jersey’s decision to obstruct federal immigration enforcement by refusing to provide such information is unlawful under the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution.”

Finally, they are suing Washington state because of King County Executive Order PFC-7-1-EO, which prohibits ICE from using King Country International Airport to remove detainees from the US. They claim this has made it more difficult and costly for ICE to remove detainees from the country because they now need to drive all the way to Yakima to remove detainees. They claim the executive order is unlawful under the Supremacy Clause and the Airline Deregulation Act.