California legislators who authored the “sanctuary” laws that the Justice Department is seeking to strike down actually blasted President Donald Trump’s administration on Wednesday as a “rogue federal operation,” with one state senator vowing that Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions will be served with some “California justice.”
State Senator Kevin de Leon—the author of the main SB-54 “sanctuary state” law that Governor Jerry Brown signed into law last year and who is also challenging Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)—claimed that Trump and Sessions were basing the lawsuit on “white supremacy” and “white nationalism.” He also accused the Trump administration of seeking “retribution” against California because the Golden State voted overwhelmingly against Trump last November.
“We will not provide a single dime for your white supremacist, un-American agenda here,” de Leon told Sessions and Trump. “We will fight back on behalf of our families. Bring. It. On.”
De Leon also said the state has retained former Attorney General Eric Holder, who invoked the Supremacy Clause to challenge Arizona’s SB1070 immigration law when he was President Barack Obama’s attorney general, to file an amicus brief against the Justice Department’s lawsuit.
State Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), who authored SB-29, which is the counterpart to the AB-103 bill that “blocked the expansion of immigrant detention” in California’s public jails, bragged that California was the “the first state to block for-profit immigration detention” because “stopping the growth of immigrant jails is about human rights, plain and simple”
“Trump and Sessions are suing California, but they are about to get served with California justice,” he said.
Lara claimed the jails in question are not “about stopping crime” and are rather simply “immigrant jails” that the lawmakers do not want to expand in California.”
“Immigrants in these facilities lack basic rights like access to healthcare and access to an attorney,” Lara said, adding that his parents did not cross over the border from Mexico for him to “step aside” and “let this happen.”
The Justice Department concluded that AB-103 “requires the California Attorney General to investigate the law enforcement efforts of federal agents engaged in apprehending and transferring aliens, to assess the ‘due process’ provided to those aliens and the ‘circumstances around their apprehension and transfer to the facility,’ and to assess the law enforcement decisions of personnel under contract to the United States, as well as records of unspecified scope.”
“The statute thus commands an improper, significant intrusion into federal enforcement of the immigration laws. California has no lawful interest in investigating federal law enforcement efforts,” the Justice Department argued. “These provisions violate the Supremacy Clause by, among other things, constituting an obstacle to the United States’ enforcement of the immigration laws and discriminating against the United States.”
Regarding SB-54, the Justice Department noted that it “requires federal immigration officers to either engage in difficult and dangerous efforts to re-arrest aliens who were previously in state custody, endangering immigration officers, the alien at issue, and others who may be nearby, or to determine that it is not appropriate to transfer an alien to state or local custody in the first place, in order to comply with their mission to enforce the immigration laws.”
Since “California has no lawful interest in assisting removable aliens to evade federal law enforcement,” SB-54’s provisions, the Justice Department argued, “violate the Supremacy Clause by, among other things, constituting an obstacle to the United States’ enforcement of the immigration laws and discriminating against federal immigration enforcement.”