California governor endorses potential ‘sanctuary cities’ lawsuit against Trump

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California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) has endorsed the idea of his state suing the Trump administration over its threat to strip federal funding from cities that refuse to comply with federal immigration authorities.

Brown said during an interview airing Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that moving the discussion into a “judicial forum” instead of politicians arguing with each other would be beneficial for the country.

“I think a few judicious forums to resolve this dispute between the federal government and California –  I think – can be very helpful for the whole country, and in a dispassionate way,” Brown said.


“Because this back and forth by politicians, it doesn’t really clarify some of the difficulties of the paramount law of the federal government colliding with the sovereign law of the 50 states.”

Brown said that the decision would ultimately be up to his attorney general, but argued that “politicians talking past one another” had failed to accomplish anything on the issue.

It’s “something that our independent attorney general can decide, but it might just be very helpful to get into court and resolve this in a judicial forum rather than in the rhetoric of politicians talking past one another,” he said.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced last month that state and local governments seeking the grant funding must certify they are not so-called “sanctuary cities,” which do not assist federal authorities in enforcing immigration laws.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) said his city plans to file a lawsuit Monday against the Trump administration, claiming it is illegal for the federal government to withhold public safety grant money from the cities.

Asked about a bill also currently in the California legislature, Brown said he wouldn’t call it a “sanctuary city” bill, because the while the bill prohibits state law enforcement from complying with federal immigration authorities, it doesn’t block those immigration agents operating in the state.

“That bill does not declare California a sanctuary state,” Brown told host Chuck Todd.

“As a former seminarian, I have a very clear image of the sanctuary. It’s in a church. It conjures up Medieval sanctuary places.”

“And it says more than a specific set of legislative requirements,” Brown added, “which the goal here is to block and not to collaborate with abuse of federal power. That’s the goal.”

California’s bill, among other provisions, bars state law enforcement from asking about suspects’ immigration status, allowing federal agents to access suspects in custody to investigate their immigration status, and generally from responding to requests for information from federal immigration agents, according to The Los Angeles Times.

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