The Trump administration, led by Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Justice Department, announced Tuesday night that it is suing California over its so-called "sanctuary status" that extends certain protections to immigrants in the country illegally, Yahoo News is reporting. In response, California Governor Jerry Brown called the move "a political stunt."
California has three particular laws that the Justice Department claims are unconstitutional. Those laws, in part, bar police from asking detainees about their citizenship status, as well as bar police from helping federal immigration officials carry out their enforcement activities. Another law allows private employers to warn workers about potential immigration raids.
Last week, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf famously learned that an immigration raid was coming and tweeted out a warning to the city's immigrant community. According to Fox News, that warning may have helped as many as 800 or more illegal immigrants evade capture.
California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, a Democrat who helped write some of the legislation, says the laws are just and moral and are intended to protect California families.
"California will NOT help President Trump [or Jeff Sessions] rip children from the arms of their mothers and fathers."
Sessions and the Justice Department don't see things that way, however, according to CNN. Speaking Wednesday to the California Peace Officers Association, Sessions vowed to put an end to laws that he says make it harder for police to do their jobs.
"The Department of Justice and the Trump administration are going to fight these unjust, unfair, and unconstitutional policies that have been imposed on you. We are fighting to make your jobs safer and to help you reduce crime in America. And I believe that we are going to win."
Protestors gathered outside Sacramento hotel where AG Jeff Sessions scheduled to speak. pic.twitter.com/TQOMA81zid
— Amy Hollyfield (@amyhollyfield) March 7, 2018
California Governor Jerry Brown vowed to fight the lawsuit every step of the way. In a tweet, Brown addressed Sessions directly.
At a time of unprecedented political turmoil, Jeff Sessions has come to California to further divide and polarize America. Jeff, these political stunts may be the norm in Washington, but they don't work here. SAD!!!
— Jerry Brown (@JerryBrownGov) March 7, 2018
It's not just California that extends so-called "sanctuary city" protection to some illegal immigrants, according to CNN. However, California is certainly the biggest state to offer sanctuary. Other states say that in addition to the moral issues related to assisting with Immigration -- cooperation that may result in families being torn apart -- there are cost considerations. They claim that they don't want to spend limited state resources on what should be a federal matter. Further, they say, when local police cooperate with federal immigration authorities, it hurts law enforcement's relationships with immigrant communities.