The Department of Justice’s frustration with California’s immigrant sanctuary laws took the form of a lawsuit Tuesday evening.
The Trump administration is suing the state, Governor Jerry Brown, and state attorney general Xavier Becerra over three laws of questionable constitutionality that hampered federal immigration officials trying to crack down on criminals living in the country illegally.
“How dare you needlessly endanger our law enforcement officers to promote a radical, open-borders agenda,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said at the annual meeting of the California Peace Officers Association Wednesday, directing his comments to Mayor Libby Schaaf of Oakland, Calif.
“Those are 800 wanted criminals that are now at large in that community — 800 wanted criminals that ICE will now have to pursue with more difficulty in more dangerous situations, all because of one mayor’s irresponsible action,” the attorney general stated.
Democratic governor Jerry Brown called the lawsuit an “act of war.”
Senate President Kevin de Leon said Sessions’s polices are based on “white nationalism and white supremacy.”
Meanwhile, protests erupted outside, where activists chanted, “Immigrants stay. Sessions out.”
The lawsuit, filed in the federal district court in Sacramento, accused California of deliberately “obstructing the United States’ enforcement of federal immigration law.” The suit is the first filed by Sessions’s Justice Department regarding immigration laws.
The three laws in question prevent local law enforcement from cooperating completely with federal immigration enforcement.
“We’re in the business of public safety, not deportation,” the California state attorney general said.
California has bucked the administration’s attempts before on immigration and other issues. The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals blocked two of the White House’s travel bans and an attempt to strip federal funding from sanctuary cities.
“Nothing’s as bad as the Ninth Circuit. It’s really sad when every single case filed against us is in the Ninth Circuit,” Trump complained at the end of February.
The court is currently blocking the White House from ending the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals program (DACA).