Trump vs California immigration suit heads to appeals court

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – The Trump administration tried to persuade a United States (US) appeals court yesterday to block California laws aimed at protecting immigrants, seeking a win in one of numerous lawsuits between the White House and the Democratic-dominated state.

At issue in the hearing before the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals is a 2018 administration lawsuit over three California laws that extended protections to people in the country illegally.

The legal challenge was part of the administration’s broader efforts to crack down on so-called sanctuary jurisdictions that it says allow criminals to stay on the streets.

California officials said their policies limiting cooperation with US immigration authorities promote trust between immigrant communities and law enforcement and encourage witnesses and victims to report crime. The US Department of Justice argued in court documents that the Constitution gives the federal government pre-eminent power to regulate immigration, and the three laws obstruct those efforts.

“The Bills, individually and collectively, mark an extraordinary and intentional assault on the federal government’s enforcement of the immigration laws,” Justice Department attorneys said in a filing.

US Judge John Mendez in Sacramento kept two of the laws in place in July but blocked part of a third.

He ruled that California could limit police cooperation with immigration officials and require inspections of detention facilities where immigrants are held, but the state could not bar private employers from allowing immigration officials on their premises without a warrant.