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March 6, 2018

Summary

On Tuesday, March 6, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Trump administration is suing the State of California, its Governor Jerry Brown (D), and its Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D), over three recently passed pieces of legislation, referred to as “sanctuary laws,” that have “made it impossible for federal immigration officials to do their jobs and deport criminals who were born outside of the United States” (New York Times). Specifically, the lawsuit seeks to render the Immigration Worker Protection Act (AB 450), Assembly Bill 103, and the California Values Act (SB 54) unconstitutional. The lawsuit was filed in Federal District Court in Sacramento.

Analysis

California has the largest immigrant population in the United States as of 2012, according to the Pew Research Center, so it is no wonder that the state has gone to greater lengths than others to protect the rights and interests of its immigrant residents through the passage of sanctuary laws. These laws, however, contradict and threaten the populist, nationalist, hateful rhetoric and political action spearheaded by Trump and Sessions. By putting the federal government at odds with the State of California, the Trump administration continues to polarize government at all levels, fostering an increasingly toxic and dangerous political climate.

In this particular instance, the California Values Act, which was signed into law by Governor Brown in October of 2017, seems to have been the straw that broke Trump’s back, for he threatened to pull Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) officials from the state following the bill’s passage. This lawsuit could be an indication of precedent: when Trump doesn’t get his way, he sues.

For the most part, federal judges have been crucial in blocking some of Trump’s most outlandish immigration policy, particularly as it pertains to the phase-out of DACA. As the litigation unfolds, Californians and non-Californians alike in favor of progressive (and quite frankly—fair) immigration policies will vigorously advocate for these policies to remain in place. In the event that the ruling is in favor of the plaintiff (Trump), the results could be devastating, leading to the deportation of thousands of people across California. Should the ruling be in favor of the defendants, however, it will signify to the President and his administration that the country is losing tolerance for unfounded hate.

Engagement Resources

  • Show Your Solidarity with the Immigrant Legal Resource Center: The Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) is a national nonprofit resource center that provides immigration legal trainings, technical assistance, and educational materials, and engages in advocacy and immigrant civic engagement to advance immigrant rights. You can support the center by donating or attending one of their virtual or in-person trainings.
  • Act with America’s Voice: America’s Voice is a progressive immigration reform nonprofit that advocates for full and equal rights of all immigrants. The organization runs numerous campaigns, maps incidents of hate against people of color, and assists with voter registration, amongst other activities essential to promoting equity for immigrant lives in the United States. You can make a contribution to America’s Voice here.
  • Support the New Americans Campaign: The New Americans Campaign is a national, nonpartisan network of immigrant organizations, legal service providers, faith-based organizations, faith-based organizations, immigrant rights groups, foundations, and community leaders. A project by the Immigration Legal Resource Center, the campaign is committed to connecting lawful permanent residents to trusted legal assistance. Click here to support the campaign.

This brief was compiled by Allie Blum. If you have comments or want to add the name of your organization to this brief please contact allie@usresistnews.org.


 

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