The Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), a pro-American immigration law firm, filed two “friend of the court” briefs in federal court Friday on behalf of groups and municipalities opposed to California’s so-called “sanctuary policies.”
The amicus briefs ask the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California to consider additional arguments in support of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Department of Justice’s efforts to invalidate a slew of California laws designed to protect illegal aliens.
Sessions told Breitbart News last month that the administration “cannot accept” the three laws at issue: SB 54, which prohibits state and local police from enforcing immigration laws statewide; AB 103, which creates state “inspections” of federal immigration control facilities; and – perhaps most controversially – AB 450, which creates penalties for private employers who cooperate with federal law enforcement to catch illegal aliens.
“Elected officials in California are free to name their bills ‘The California Values Act’ and the like, but the federal government and the Constitution speak for Californians on matters of immigration,” IRLI Executive Director and General Counsel Dale Wilcox said in a statement Friday. “There is ample legal precedent in this area, and it clearly supports the federal government’s position. This is a textbook application of the Supremacy Clause.”
One brief is filed on behalf of a group of California towns and cities that have collectively refused to stop cooperating with federal law enforcement. “Yorba Linda, Mission Viejo, and Escondido are all joining our brief, in addition to U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher [(R-CA)],” Wilcox told Breitbart News West Coast Editor Rebecca Mansour on Thursday’s Breitbart News Tonight. “Their brief is going to focus on how the State of California has overstepped its bounds and has put them in a really tough situation.”
Also participating in the amicus are:
- The City of Aliso Viejo
- The City of Barstow
- The City of Fountain Valley
- The City of Hesperia
- The Hon. Mike Spence, Mayor of West Covina
- The Hon. David Harrington, Mayor of the City of Aliso Viejo
- The Hon. Jim Desmond, Mayor of San Marcos
- The Hon. Rebecca Jones, Vice-Mayor of San Marcos
- The Hon. Ryan A. Vienna, Council Member of San Dimas
The brief takes the line that these laws force municipalities to aid-and-abet the evasion of federal law enforcement by illegal aliens. “The Legislature here fully acknowledged its purpose to thwart immigration enforcement and to reduce deportations. … That is more than enough for aiding-and-abetting liability,” it argues.
“These municipalities are not going to stand by and put up with what’s going on in Sacramento,” Wilcox told Mansour.
IRLI’s other brief is entered on behalf of the National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA) and two groups representing the families of those killed by illegal aliens: Advocates for Victims of Illegal Alien Crime (AVIAC) and Fight Sanctuary State (FSS), a new group set up to fight these specific laws. It seeks to back up the Justice Department’s case against SB 54 and AB 450.
The brief argues SB 54, the original “sanctuary state” law, “compels cities to commit harboring,” explaining:
By preventing state and local law enforcement from providing the information or cooperation that ICE requests in the course of enforcing federal immigration laws, SB 54 compels local law enforcement to “conceal, harbor, or shield from detection” aliens in “any place, including any building” (or to attempt to do so) in violation of 8 U.S.C. § 1324(a)(1)(a)(iii).
As the Justice Department did, IRLI also argues SB 54 violates the U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause. For example, of the section of SB 54 prohbiting California police from complying with Department of Homeland Security requests for suspected illegal aliens the brief points out:
But if, under the Supremacy Clause, local officials may not use force or legal process to block federal officers from performing their federal law enforcement duties by assuming custody of removable aliens, California has no legitimate authority, under that clause, to forbid local officials to transfer custody to them.
In a new twist, this brief attacks AB 450 by claiming it violates California employers’ right to petition their government under the First Amendment. “Here, when employers give voluntary consent to ICE to enter their nonpublic premises, often they do so to influence ICE not to arrest them for violating federal work authorization laws,” it reads. “Such attempts to influence government officials clearly constitute petitioning protected in the First Amendment.”
The two briefs come nearly two weeks after the attorneys general of 18 states signed on to Texas AG Ken Paxton’s amicus brief also supporting DOJ’s bid to rein in California’s sanctuary gambit. That brief comes hot on the heels of Paxton’s victory at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, where Texas’s law to prevent the spread of the type of local sanctuary laws that predated California’s statewide measure was reinstated in full.
On Thursday’s Breitbart News Tonight, Editor-at-Large Joel Pollak asked Wilcox how California, the state that, only 24 years ago, passed the toughest-in-the-nation Proposition 187 ballot initiative to combat illegal immigration, has so zealously marched down the “sanctuary” route. “Sadly, the Democrats have formed this vision that, through identity politics, they can transform and gain power, and create these voting blocks, so they have just opened the doors to illegal immigration,” Wilcox told Pollak. “You’re absolutely right. 20 years ago, 30 years ago, this never would have happened.”
The case is U.S. v. California, No. 18-490 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California.