California Also Sues AG Jeff Sessions Over Sanctuary Cities Funding Threat

By Christopher Coble, Esq. on August 15, 2017 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

On the heels of Chicago's lawsuit last week, and San Francisco's lawsuit over the weekend, the State of California has filed a lawsuit against U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions regarding President Donald Trump's executive order threatening to without federal grants from "sanctuary jurisdictions."

The lawsuit claims the threat represents and unconstitutional takeover of state and local law enforcement, and also violates the Constitution's Spending Clause, and is seeking an injunction against the Department of Justice, barring it from enforcing the executive order. You can read the lawsuit in full, below:

Fighting the Feds

The Golden State contends that its state statutes and enforcement efforts are designed to serve "all residents, including more than 10 million foreign-born individuals, who live in the State." And its policies, which limit cooperation with the federal government in immigration matters, forward that goal:

The purpose of these California laws is to ensure that law enforcement resources are focused on a core public safety mission and to build trust and cooperation between law enforcement and the State's immigrant communities. When local and state LEAs engage in immigration enforcement ... vulnerable victims and witnesses are less likely to come forward to report crimes.

The lawsuit also contends that the federal government is attempting to, at worst, co-opt local law enforcement resources for immigration control or, at best, restrict local law enforcement from implementing its own best practices:

In order to compel jurisdictions to adopt its federal immigration program, the Administration has admitted that it intends to force state and local jurisdictions to abandon policies these jurisdictions have adopted based on their considered judgment on how best to enhance public safety.

Halting the Threat

Finally, California's lawsuit, filed by state Attorney General Xavier Becerra, claims any effort to without funds absent more specific guidance is unconstitutional:

Compelling state and local governments to make a decision without providing clarity about the scope of the conditions, or construing these funding conditions to prohibit jurisdictions from providing notice protections for inmates or requiring jurisdictions to detain individuals beyond their ordinary release, undermines public safety, is unconstitutional, and should be halted.

Here is the full lawsuit:

California v Sessions - Complaint by FindLaw on Scribd

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