Supreme Court Rejects White House Bid to Overturn California ‘Sanctuary’ Law

June 15, 2020 by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court on Monday rejected the Trump administration’s bid to overturn one of California’s so-called “sanctuary” laws, leaving intact rules prohibiting law enforcement from aiding federal agents in taking custody of immigrants as they are released from jail.

The Justice Department had asked the justices to review a federal appeals court decision that largely upheld three laws Trump has repeatedly described as examples of Democratic lawlessness on immigration.

One of the laws, Senate Bill 54, passed soon after Donald Trump became president in 2017, separates local law enforcement from federal immigration authorities, protecting arrested immigrants and low-level offenders from deportation.

Despite a series of White House challenges to the laws, judges have repeatedly struck down the administration’s effort to withhold funding from jurisdictions providing “sanctuary” to those who have run afoul of immigration authorities.

Two of the Court’s conservative members, Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, said Monday they would have granted review to the case. However, it takes four justices to agree on the merits of a case before it is added to the docket.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra applauded the Supreme Court’s decision Monday, saying it bolstered his state’s effort to build “trust between law enforcement and our hard-working immigrant communities.”

“That’s why this fight mattered so much,” Becerra said in a statement. “We’re protecting Californians’ right to decide how we do public safety in our state. The Trump Administration does not have the authority to commandeer state resources. We’re heartened by today’s Supreme Court decision.”

In a separate statement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the decision “a victory for public safety.”

“The Court has rejected the Trump Administration’s cruel attempt to coerce state and local law enforcement officials into becoming a deportation dragnet, which is motivated by bigotry and cruelty, not the security of our communities,” Pelosi said. “No one is made safer when immigrant families fear going to the police when they are witnesses or victims of crimes.

“House Democrats will continue to stand strong against this administration’s anti-immigrant agenda, which threatens to tear apart families and undermine our security. We will continue to fight for smart, humane strategies that work to protect and serve, not deport and intimidate,” the speaker concluded.

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