The lawsuit was filed on Tuesday night after a recently-passed state law antagonized the Trump administration.
After a year of threats and counter allegations involving the immigration policies of the California Government, the Trump administration has made its more aggressive move till date by filing a lawsuit against the state government and its officials.
The officials of the Trump administration have repeatedly attacked the California Government and have accused the local officials of harboring dangerous criminals.
In the recently filed lawsuit, both the California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Governor Edmund G. Brown have been named as defenders, though both have condemned the case as meritless, with the Attorney General taking to Twitter to express his displeasure with the lawsuit.
— Archive – Attorney General Becerra (@AGBecerra) March 7, 2018
What is the Sanctuary State Bill?
The target of the lawsuit is the so-called ‘’sanctuary-state’’ bills – a law that places marked limits on how much could the local and state law enforcement agencies can go to cooperate with the federal immigration authorities.
The sanctuary state bill, which came into effect from January 1st, 2018, provides legal protection to undocumented immigrants who are living in California without any legal documentation.
California's statement on sanctuary state bill passed last year: pic.twitter.com/i5VzI67sg5
— kendallcoughlin (@kendallcoughlin) March 7, 2018
Specifically, the bill bans both the state and local agencies from enforcing ‘’holds’’ on people who are in their custody. It also bars the deputation of police offers as immigration agents and also bars local and state law enforcement agencies from inquiring an individual about his immigration status.
It also prohibits the local and state agencies to enter into contracts with federal agencies with which the latter could use California’s law enforcement facilities as federal detention centers, though it allows the existing contracts to complete their duration.
Test for States
The recently filed lawsuit would test the power states have to protect immigrants from detection, particularly when the federal government is of the view that it has the sole power to determine the immigration policy.
Although these are still early days in the lawsuit, most people think that the Trump administration might want to take help from a 2012 Supreme Court decision.
The Supreme Court in that decision stopped the Arizona State Government from decreasing the number of undocumented immigrants under its jurisdiction on the grounds that states do not have the power to pursue policies that undermine federal law.
That said, the justices were only able to deliver a split decision, and refused to block the most controversial provision which arms the state police offers to inquire the immigration papers of anyone who is suspected of living in the country illegally.