High Court Blocks Trump on Sanctuary Law

Justices won't take case, leaving California policy in place
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 15, 2020 6:55 PM CDT
Trump Loses Sanctuary Fight at Supreme Court
Erica Leyva carries a sign outside a San Francisco courthouse where a federal judge heard arguments in a lawsuit challenging President Trump's executive order to withhold funding from communities that limit cooperation with immigration authorities in 2017.   (AP Photo/Haven Daley)

The Supreme Court has voted not to take up President Trump's attempt to void California's sanctuary law, a decisive victory for the state in its struggle with the administration over immigration law enforcement. With exceptions involving warrents or suspects in serious crimes, California law enforcement officials don't help federal authorities detain immigrants being released from jail. A past decision holds that state and local officials don't have to help the enforcement of federal laws, the Los Angeles Times reports, and that argument apparently carried the day. Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. were the only justices who voted to hear the administration's case, launched when Jeff Sessions was attorney general. He argued that California was violating the Consitution by interfering with the enforcement of federal immigration law.

The state policy was upheld by lower courts, with one judge writing, "Refusing to help is not the same as impeding." Those decisions now rule on the issue. Local officials in California differ on the law, per KNTV. Some have said it lets immigrants who could commit crimes again stay in this country instead of being deported, as they otherwise would be; others said the law helps police build trust with immigrants. Without it, the state argued, immigrants will "fear approaching police when they are victims of, and witnesses to, crimes, jeopardizing public safety for all Californians." The state's attorney general reiterated that point Monday. "The last thing we need to do is to erode that trust," Xavier Becerra said. "Today, America is experiencing the pain and protest that occurs when trust is broken." (Read more sanctuary cities stories.)

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