Trump's Justice Department Sues California Over 'Sanctuary' Status

The Justice Department is sending California and its top two officials a message over its recently passed 'Sanctuary State' immigration laws: The Constitution reigns supreme.  

A lawsuit filed by the Justice Department in federal court late Tuesdayt names California, Gov. Jerry Brown and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra challenges three recent laws passed by the state legislature that dictates how local law enforcement does, or (does not in California's case) assist federal immigration agents. 

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is set to make the announcement in remarks to be delivered at a law enforcement convention Wednesday morning. 

Sessions' speech is expected to be a part of the 26th Annual Law Enforcement Legislative Day in Sacramento. The event is hosted by the California Peace Officers' Association every year.

The lawsuit comes a week after Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf warned residents that Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials would be raiding businesses over the weekend. During the four-day raids, agents arrested more than 200 people, but officials blasted the mayor for allowing potential criminals to remain on the street. 

According to NBC News, the lawsuit challenges three laws passed by California last year, and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown. 

SB 54 which restricts California police officers from notifying federal immigration authorities about things like upcoming release dates of prisoners who are in custody and subject to deportation. The law also prevents those officers from transferring the prisoners into federal custody. 

The Justice Department is also challenging AB 450 which prohibits employers from cooperating with immigration agents who conduct workplace raids. The law requires employers to notify employees if and when federal agents are coming for inspections. 

Finally, AB 103, which requires the state to inspect detention facilities where federal agents are holding illegal immigrants who are about to be deported. 

Supporters of the laws say the sanctuary laws make communities safer by allow illegal immigrants who have been victims of crime to come forward without the fear of deportation. 

The suit asks the judge to inviolate the laws and block enforcement, pointing out that the Constitution provides the U.S. Government with supremacy over immigration policies and laws. The new case signals an escalation in the fight between California and the Trump administration who have been at odds over immigration policy since Trump was sworn in. 

Today's case is separate from another lawsuit that addresses the Trump administration's efforts to withhold federal funding from sanctuary cities. 

Photo: Getty Images

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