It was California liberals who passed the first so-called “Sanctuary” laws in 1985 when San Francisco banned the use of city funds to assist federal immigration enforcement. Since then, the idea has spread to over 560 jurisdictions in the US, and thousands of criminals have been able to evade deportation and commit a string of further offenses against citizens and legal residents. The Trump administration has never had any tolerance for these lethal laws, and now the president has asked the Supreme Court to make California a test case for their removal.
California has been the keystone of the “sanctuary” movement from the beginning, and the most populous US state has pushed the idea to its limits — the entire state is now officially a sanctuary for illegal immigrants. Now, the president wants to dismantle the system and California is the obvious place to start.
- President Trump has asked the Supreme Court to quash SB 54, the California Values Act. This is the “sanctuary” law that prevents state and local law enforcement from cooperating with federal immigration authorities.
- The government’s petition to SCOTUS points out that when it comes to immigration, naturalization and deportation, the federal government has exclusive powers.
“That the supremacy of the national power in the general field of foreign affairs, including power over immigration, naturalization, and deportation, is made clear by the Constitution, was pointed out by the authors of The Federalist in 1787, and has since been given continuous recognition by this Court.”
-Supreme Court Ruling, 1941, Hines v. Davidowitz
- SB 54 clearly undermines federal jurisdiction over immigration. State authorities aren’t allowed to tell federal agents when an “undocumented” criminal is going to be released from state custody, so ICE either has to waste manpower staking out state jails or risk criminals disappearing back into the community.
- Now the administration is turning a Liberal Supreme Court decision against California’s laws. In Arizona v. US, a 5-4 Supreme Court majority struck down an Arizona law that involved state officials in immigration enforcement. Arizona argued that it was entitled to have its own immigration policy but SCOTUS justices disagreed. Their reason? That federal immigration laws take precedence over state ones.
- The administration now says that if states aren’t allowed to enhance federal immigration laws, they can’t be allowed to undermine them either. This is an interesting case because it has conservatives arguing for the supremacy of federal law and liberals pushing for states’ rights.
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