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Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Trump Admin. Challenge to California Sanctuary Law

Demonstrators hold signs outside the U.S. Supreme Court as justices were scheduled to hear oral arguments regarding the Trump administration’s bid to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in Washington, U.S., November 12, 2019. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

The Supreme Court on Monday denied a request by the Trump administration to consider several California “sanctuary” laws that curb the ability of state and local law enforcement to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.

The Supreme Court’s decision not to hear the administration’s challenge to three California laws leaves in place a ruling last year by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upholding the law. Before that, a federal district court ruled in favor of the law.

The 2017 legislation bars California law enforcement in many cases from releasing personal information about an individual to federal authorities for immigration enforcement, including their home address, work address, and date of release from custody. State and local law enforcement also may not transfer an individual into the custody of federal immigration authorities unless a warrant is produced.

Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito expressed support for taking up the case.

President Trump said in 2018 that the California legislation “provides safe harbor to some of the most vicious and violent offenders on Earth, like MS-13 gang members, putting innocent men, women, and children at the mercy of these sadistic criminals.”

“Aliens are present and may remain in the United States only as provided for under the auspices of federal immigration law,” Solicitor General Noel Francisco wrote in his appeal. “It therefore is the United States, not California, that ‘retains the right’ to set the conditions under which aliens in this country may be detained, released, and removed.”

The court’s rejection of the administration’s appeal comes as the Supreme Court is expected to rule in the coming days on Trump’s order to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which allows illegal immigrants brought to the country as children to remain and avoid deportation.

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