After Federal Challenge, California AG ‘Clarifies’ on Sanctuary State

Xavier Becerra Jerry Brown (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)
Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra issued new guidance to state and local law enforcement agencies on Wednesday allowing them to release some information about illegal aliens in custody — even if that helped federal immigration agents.

California passed a state law, SB 54 (“California Values Act”) that took effect this year and that puts a number of restrictions on how state and local law enforcement could participate in immigration enforcement.

The Department of Justice sued the state earlier this month, challenging that and two other “sanctuary state” laws.

In an exclusive report about the DOJ lawsuit, Breitbart Senior Editor-at-Large Joel Pollak spoke with United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions about the lawsuit the day after it was filed.

“We believe that we cannot accept the kind of restrictions that California placed on federal law officers, and we believe that their actions exceeded the Constitution, and we will win in the courts eventually,” Sessions told Breitbart News.

Since then, a “revolt” has spread throughout Orange County, a traditionally conservative part of California, as local authorities have declared their intention to defy the state’s “sanctuary” laws and join the federal lawsuit. San Diego County is also reported to be among those local government bodies considering defiance over compliance.

On Monday, Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens made the release dates of all inmates — including illegal aliens — public. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Acting Director Tom Homan praised Hutchens’s decision.

Gov. Jerry Brown countered by insisting that what Hutchens did was actually compliant with state law. Becerra’s new guidance aims to make that clear — and take the sting out of the federal lawsuit.

The Washington Post reported:

The guidance is particularly significant because the U.S. Justice Department has sued California over its various laws that benefit those in the country without documentation, alleging the measures obstruct federal law enforcement and harm public safety. The lawsuit argues that the directives are preempted by federal law and thus violate the Constitution’s supremacy clause.

“The guidance document makes clear that federal law ‘prohibits restrictions on the exchange of information regarding a person’s citizenship or immigration status’ and says ‘all California law enforcement agencies should comply with these laws,'” the Post reported.

But the guidance also spells out how state and local law enforcement can work with federal immigration agents, including transferring criminal illegal aliens into federal custody.

“It also says that while state and local officials should share with immigration authorities ‘information regarding a person’s citizenship or immigration status,’ they should not reveal any other personal information, such as a home or work address,” the Post reported.

Some conservative critics of the state’s “sanctuary” policy interpreted Brown and Becerra’s new “guidance” as a concession to the federal government.

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