Feds vs. California: What Will Happen to California’s Sanctuary Laws?

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The battle between the federal government and the State of California began early on in 2018. What began as a verbal spat regarding the federal government’s immigration policies and California’s support for sanctuary cities, quickly escalated in March 2018. It was back in March that the federal government sued California over its sanctuary laws, claiming the laws put federal agents in danger and prevented the enforcement of federal laws.

Since March, California immigration lawyers, lawmakers, and citizens have watched the exchange of court filings and motions from a relative distance. Then, this week a decision by a California judge provided the first blow to the federal government’s arguments against the state’s sanctuary laws. What does this first decision mean and what does it mean for the future of California’s sanctuary status?

What Are California’s Sanctuary Laws?

What is commonly referred to as California’s sanctuary law, is legally named SB54. The law was passed in early 2017 as a means to reassure and lend support to California’s large immigrant population. It was also a direct response to the Trump Administration’s rhetoric that it intended to crack down on sanctuary cities across the United States.

SB54 is a statewide law that forbids municipalities and other local governments from using their resources to investigate and detain people on the basis of federal immigration enforcement. The law further prevents local governments from demanding information on a person’s immigration status, holding an individual in jail past their normal release date at the request of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and providing space to federal agencies to use for federal immigration detainment.

While the law outlines these specific prohibitions, it’s underlying intention is far broader. The law is meant to build on California’s legal support for sanctuary cities across the state. With these prohibitions in place, cities that might be vulnerable to sway or retaliatory actions by the Trump Administration can continue welcoming and reassuring their immigrant population.

What Was the Basis for the Federal Lawsuit?

The California laws directly forbid local governments in the state from supporting or assisting federal efforts to detect and detain illegal immigrants in those areas. The California legislature knew this was a consequence of the bill when it passed, and that repercussion has been realized across California. According to arguments by the California legislature, local governments have no obligation to assist in federal investigations and enforcement.

In it’s March lawsuit, the federal government disagreed with the practical consequence of the California sanctuary law. The DOJ is arguing that by preventing local governments from lending resources and support to ICE investigations and enforcement of illegal immigrants the state is hindering ICE in its enforcement of federal laws. It is arguing that the restrictions don’t give the federal agency full access to all available tools and assets when it comes to enforcement.

Specifically, the federal government took issue with three of the prohibitions contained in the California sanctuary laws. First, the aspect of the laws that limits the support local governments can offer ICE when it comes to immigration enforcement. Second, the restrictions placed on employers when ICE performs a raid at a workplace. Third, the federal government takes issue with the requirement that immigration facilities across the state should be reviewed.

Initial Decision Against the Federal Government

Judge John Mendez made an initial ruling on the federal government’s case on an auspicious July 4th. The district court judge, an appointee of former president George W. Bush, upheld California’s right to require a review of immigration detention facilities in the state and the prohibition on local government using resources to assist in ICE detection and detention. The same opinion also found the state’s prohibition on private employers to be unlawful.

This ruling by Judge Mendez has several outcomes, but California immigration lawyers know that nothing is final in this case.

California is permitted to restrict the resources used by local governments in federal immigration enforcement, provided criminal laws and procedure are followed. For example, if an immigrant should be detained by local law enforcement for committing a crime, then the local government should enforce the criminal law, even if that means ICE will have an opportunity to detain the individual.

Further, California’s determination to review immigration detention facilities is at the discretion of the state. The court’s ruling determines that this review by the state or local governments doesn’t cause any harm to the federal government or its enforcement ability. These inspections didn’t impose any substantive or additional requirements on the facilities, merely allowed for inspection.

Finally, private employers are permitted to determine whether or not they want to cooperate with ICE in a workplace raid absent a warrant. The district court determined that it was inappropriate to burden employers with penalties for allowing ICE agents access to employment records or private property.

Next Steps in the Federal Case

For now, all measures, taken by the California legislature to reassure immigrants, except the measure placed on private employers, are upheld and kept in place. Residents of California can rely upon these measures during their encounters with local law enforcement and even when placed under investigation or arrest. Where sanctuary cities are established in California, their local protections for immigrant populations remain intact.

The federal government can appeal this ruling. The DOJ can request that the Ninth Circuit hear the district court’s decision on appeal, which could result in a different outcome in the case. As well, ICE has increased its activity in California. The Trump Administration argues that greater enforcement actions and focus on illegal immigration in California is necessary because of the state’s sanctuary laws. Following this decision, it’s possible that ICE’s attention on the state could only increase, putting certain immigrants at risk for questioning and detainment and increasing the need for high-quality California immigration lawyers.

If you need to speak with California immigration lawyers regarding your status in the United States or detainment of a family member or friend, contact Greco Neyland in Los Angeles. Our office 24/7 by calling (213) 295-3500.

Feds vs. California: What Will Happen to California’s Sanctuary Laws?

inne-rpage-seperator

The battle between the federal government and the State of California began early on in 2018. What began as a verbal spat regarding the federal government’s immigration policies and California’s support for sanctuary cities, quickly escalated in March 2018. It was back in March that the federal government sued California over its sanctuary laws, claiming the laws put federal agents in danger and prevented the enforcement of federal laws.

Since March, California immigration lawyers, lawmakers, and citizens have watched the exchange of court filings and motions from a relative distance. Then, this week a decision by a California judge provided the first blow to the federal government’s arguments against the state’s sanctuary laws. What does this first decision mean and what does it mean for the future of California’s sanctuary status?

What Are California’s Sanctuary Laws?

What is commonly referred to as California’s sanctuary law, is legally named SB54. The law was passed in early 2017 as a means to reassure and lend support to California’s large immigrant population. It was also a direct response to the Trump Administration’s rhetoric that it intended to crack down on sanctuary cities across the United States.

SB54 is a statewide law that forbids municipalities and other local governments from using their resources to investigate and detain people on the basis of federal immigration enforcement. The law further prevents local governments from demanding information on a person’s immigration status, holding an individual in jail past their normal release date at the request of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and providing space to federal agencies to use for federal immigration detainment.

While the law outlines these specific prohibitions, it’s underlying intention is far broader. The law is meant to build on California’s legal support for sanctuary cities across the state. With these prohibitions in place, cities that might be vulnerable to sway or retaliatory actions by the Trump Administration can continue welcoming and reassuring their immigrant population.

What Was the Basis for the Federal Lawsuit?

The California laws directly forbid local governments in the state from supporting or assisting federal efforts to detect and detain illegal immigrants in those areas. The California legislature knew this was a consequence of the bill when it passed, and that repercussion has been realized across California. According to arguments by the California legislature, local governments have no obligation to assist in federal investigations and enforcement.

In it’s March lawsuit, the federal government disagreed with the practical consequence of the California sanctuary law. The DOJ is arguing that by preventing local governments from lending resources and support to ICE investigations and enforcement of illegal immigrants the state is hindering ICE in its enforcement of federal laws. It is arguing that the restrictions don’t give the federal agency full access to all available tools and assets when it comes to enforcement.

Specifically, the federal government took issue with three of the prohibitions contained in the California sanctuary laws. First, the aspect of the laws that limits the support local governments can offer ICE when it comes to immigration enforcement. Second, the restrictions placed on employers when ICE performs a raid at a workplace. Third, the federal government takes issue with the requirement that immigration facilities across the state should be reviewed.

Initial Decision Against the Federal Government

Judge John Mendez made an initial ruling on the federal government’s case on an auspicious July 4th. The district court judge, an appointee of former president George W. Bush, upheld California’s right to require a review of immigration detention facilities in the state and the prohibition on local government using resources to assist in ICE detection and detention. The same opinion also found the state’s prohibition on private employers to be unlawful.

This ruling by Judge Mendez has several outcomes, but California immigration lawyers know that nothing is final in this case.

California is permitted to restrict the resources used by local governments in federal immigration enforcement, provided criminal laws and procedure are followed. For example, if an immigrant should be detained by local law enforcement for committing a crime, then the local government should enforce the criminal law, even if that means ICE will have an opportunity to detain the individual.

Further, California’s determination to review immigration detention facilities is at the discretion of the state. The court’s ruling determines that this review by the state or local governments doesn’t cause any harm to the federal government or its enforcement ability. These inspections didn’t impose any substantive or additional requirements on the facilities, merely allowed for inspection.

Finally, private employers are permitted to determine whether or not they want to cooperate with ICE in a workplace raid absent a warrant. The district court determined that it was inappropriate to burden employers with penalties for allowing ICE agents access to employment records or private property.

Next Steps in the Federal Case

For now, all measures, taken by the California legislature to reassure immigrants, except the measure placed on private employers, are upheld and kept in place. Residents of California can rely upon these measures during their encounters with local law enforcement and even when placed under investigation or arrest. Where sanctuary cities are established in California, their local protections for immigrant populations remain intact.

The federal government can appeal this ruling. The DOJ can request that the Ninth Circuit hear the district court’s decision on appeal, which could result in a different outcome in the case. As well, ICE has increased its activity in California. The Trump Administration argues that greater enforcement actions and focus on illegal immigration in California is necessary because of the state’s sanctuary laws. Following this decision, it’s possible that ICE’s attention on the state could only increase, putting certain immigrants at risk for questioning and detainment and increasing the need for high-quality California immigration lawyers.

If you need to speak with California immigration lawyers regarding your status in the United States or detainment of a family member or friend, contact Greco Neyland in Los Angeles. Our office 24/7 by calling (213) 295-3500.

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