Tuesday, March 20, 2018

So Sue Us

http://www.nytimes.com; March 6, 2018

Hello Everyone:

Blogger Candidate Forum wanted to pop in for a Tuesday appearance.  The Forum would like to commend Mr. Trump for congratulating newly "re-elected" Russian President Vladimir Putin on his sham victory.  Do American presidents really congratulate dictators?  Are we doing that now?  Seriously?  Second, Cambridge Analytica.  Love the way Mr. Trump's campaign used the data company to mine and misuse personal data from at least 50 million Facebook users.  Slime upon slime when you consider that former White House strategist Steve Bannon is the company's former vice president and White House counselor Kellyanne Conway was a consultant for Cambridge Analytica.  Anyway, The Forum has more important things to shake it well manicured finger at, like Mr. Trump's legal war on California.

Alright Mr. Trump, we, the good citizens of California get it.  You are not exactly our biggest fan.  You especially are not fan of our immigration policy.  You disagree with our immigration policy so much that recently filed a lawsuit as a sort of pre-emptive strike against our liberal sanctuary laws.  No worries, you can file all the lawsuits you want, just remember we have the most electoral votes and the largest representation in Congress.  You want anything passed or want to be re-elected, you have deal with us.  Allow Blogger to explain.

Katie Benner and Jennifer Medina report in their The New York Times article, "Trump Adminsitration Sues California Over Immigration Laws," "The Justice Department sued California; Gov. Jerry Brown; and the state's attorney general, Xavier Becerra, over three state laws passed in recent months, saying they made it impossible for federal immigration officials to do thei jobs and deport criminals who were born outside the United States."  The Justice Department deemed these laws unconstitutional and requested a judge to block them.

The lawsuit represents the DOJ's boldest strike against California, one of  staunchest opponents of the administration's efforts curtail immigration (nytimes.com; Jan. 18, 2017; date accessed Mar. 20, 2018).  It is also a warning to Democratic members of Congress and elected officials who promulgate sanctuary policies that provide protections for undocumented immigrants.

In planned remarks at a law enforcement event in California's capital city Sacramento , United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions said,

The Department of Justice and the Trump administration are going in to fight these unjust, unfair and unconstitutional policies that have been imposed on you.... I believe that we are going to win.

Good luck.

The legal battle pits immigration hard liners Messr Trump and Sessions against Gov. Brown and Mr. Becerra, outspoken adversaries (Ibid; Jan. 7, 2018) "who have helped energized opposition to Mr. Trump and vowed to preserve the progressive values that they believe California embodies."

According to the lawsuit, the immigration policies,

...reflect a deliberate effort by California to obstruct the United States' enforcement of federal immigration law...

It goes on to say that "the laws regulate private entities that want to cooperate with the federal authorities and

...impede consultation and communication between federal and state law enforcement officials.

In a brilliant response, Gov. Brown called the lawsuit a political stunt, expertly trolling the president,

At a time of unprecedented political turmoil, Jeff Sessions has come to California to further divide and polarize America...Jeff, these political stunt may be the norm in Washington, but they don't work here.  SAD!!!

California has been lock in combat with the Trump administration since the end of the 2016 Presidential Election, "standing in opposition on a number of issues, including marijuana, environmental regulations and taxes."  However, immigration had become the most contentious fight, "with local officials assuring undocumented immigration that they would do all they could to protect them."

In 2017, California enacted its sanctuary laws--as this week, the California declared itself a sanctuary state and is already facing a challenge from one Orange County city--which restricts how and when local law enforcement can work with federal immigration enforcement officers.  Both Messr Sessions and Trump have threatened to withdraw federal grant money from cities and states (Ibid; July 26, 2017) with sanctuary laws to shield undocumented immigrants.  The president and attorney general argue that "the policies flout federal laws and help criminals evade deportation."

Further, the DOJ asked 23 jurisdictions (Ibid; Jan. 24, 2018) across the nation this year to "provide documentation that they had not kept information from federal immigration authorities, or receive a subpoena for the information."  Additionally Justice is looking at possible criminal charges (Ibid; Jan. 18, 2018) for local politicians who pass sanctuary policies.  Nice, jail the opposition.

The lawsuit, filed in Sacramento Federal District Court, is the first against jurisdiction or state over its immigration policies filed by Mr. Sessions' Department of Justice.  The DOJ has alluded to the possibility of other lawsuits against jurisdictions whose policies are at odds with the federal government's authority on immigration.  According to the Centern for Immigration Studies,"Colorado, Illinois, New Mexico, Oregon, and Vermont have state sanctuary laws as do cities and counties in more than a dozen states,..."

The California Values Act, strictly curtails state and municipal agencies from sharing information with federal law enforcement officers about criminals or suspect unless they have been convicted of felony offenses.  The law took effect on January 1, 2018 and "was the centerpiece of the State Legislature's effort to thwart the Trumpadministration's immigration policies."

No sooner had the ink dried on the CVA, acting United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement Thomas D. Homan announced that California should expect to see a lot more deportation officers and elected officials allied with the sanctuary laws should be arrested.  Yes, precisely.  Why not waste the precious time of police and sheriff's deputies by arresting civic leaders for acting on their political conscience.

To wit, Mr. Homan and three other immigration and border protection officials filed declarations, in conjunctions with the suit, "claiming that California's laws had already negatively affected their work."

Democratic California State Senate leader and candidate for United States Senator Kevin de Leon said,

The administration is just angry that state has stood up to them--one that embraces diversity and inclusivity and is the sixth-largest economy in the world thanks to the hard-working immigrants who want to become American citizens.

Mr. de Leon wrote one of the sanctuary city laws and is named in the suit.

The California state legislature also passed the Immigratin Worker Protection Act (oag.ca.gov; date accessed Mar. 20, 2018), which "prohibits local business from allowing immigration to gain access to employee records without a court order or subpoena."  State Attorney General Xavier Becerra warned that violators could face a fine of up to $10,000.

Putting its state funding where its immigration policy is, the current state budget includes a prohibition on new contracts for immigration detention and give the state attorney general the power to oversee all state immigration detention centers.

Further, the state, together with several jurisdictions including San Francico and Sacramento, have established legal defense funds to help defend immigrants during deportation matters.

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg expressed his concern,

I'm worried about the 'Dreamers,' hard-working immigrants families and law-abiding who are just trying to make their like the rest us,.... Civil disobedience is a respectful way to show your love for country.

Tensions between local and federal officials came to boil two weeks ago, when Oakland, California mayor Libby Schaaf publicly warned (nytimes.com; Feb. 28, 2018; date accessed Mar. 20, 2018) of an impending ICE action.  Mr. Homan compared the mayor's action to a gang lookout yelling, Police! adding that "she gave people living in the United States illegally a chance to flee."  He said, "her warning meant that the federal immigration authorities arrested about 200 people rather than the 1,000 they anticipated rounding up."

Thomas Homan and other federal official have warned about putting California in its cross hairs as it increases immigration enforcement efforts, essentially, the number of people detained has not drastically increased to date.  Katie Benner and Jennifer Medina write, "In December, the most recent for which data is available 1,715 unauthorized immigrants in California were arrested by ICE, compared with 1,379 in December 2016."

The lawsuit over immigration is not the first time the DOJ sued a state.  During President Obama's administration, the department filed a lawsuit against the state of Georgia (justice.gov; Aug. 23, 2016; date Mar. 20, 2018) for segregating disabled students from classrooms and sued North Carolina over its infamous HB1 which restricted bathroom use for transgender citizens (Ibid; May 9, 2016), later withdrawn by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Speaking on the phone with reporters,  California state attorney general Xavier Becerra expressed confidence that California would win in court; state and federal laws were not in conflict.  Mr. Becerra said,

In California, our state laws work in concert with federal law,.... Our teams work together to go after drug dealers and go after gang violence.  What we won't do is change from being focused on public safety.  We're in the business of public safety, not deportation.

Mr. Becerra was not surprised about the lawsuit, mentioning that the state had already scored legal battles against the current administration.  He said,

We've seen this B-rated movie before,.... We're not doing their bidding on immigration enforcement and deportation.

Nor should any state.  

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