Protesters greet Sessions, federal lawsuit

State Sen. Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, addresses demonstrators protesting a federal lawsuit targeting California's "sanctuary state" status. (Photo: Geoff Howard, Capitol Weekly)

Scores of protesters gathered Wednesday in downtown Sacramento to denounce U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has sued California for passing laws that he said were unconstitutional and hamper the ability of the federal government to enforce immigration laws.

Sessions, who announced the U.S. Department of Justice lawsuit the night before, was in Sacramento Wednesday to speak before an annual gathering of the California Peace Officers Association.

“California, absolutely, it appears to me, is using every power it has — powers it doesn’t have — to frustrate federal law enforcement. So you can be sure I’m going to use every power I have to stop them,” Sessions told the police representatives.

The federal suit names California Gov. Jerry Brown and state Attorney General Xavier Becerra. Brown signed into law measures establishing California’s role in 2017 as a “sanctuary state” for immigrants and Becerra has filed more than two dozen lawsuits — 28 at last count — challenging the Trump administration’s immigration policies.


The suit, which accused California of a “deliberate effort by California to obstruct the United States’ enforcement of federal immigration laws,” targets three pieces of California legislation — SB 54, AB 450 and AB 103.

Under SB 54, California and local law enforcement officials are limited in what information they are permitted to divulge to federal authorities. Assembly Bill 103 sets up state inspections of facilities housing detained immigrants and AB 450 requires federal authorities to get a court order in order to get access to private workplaces or documents.

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