Supreme Court denies petition to hear ‘sanctuary’ case

The Supreme Court on Monday denied a request by the Trump administration to review California’s so-called sanctuary laws, which limit cooperation between state and local law enforcement and federal immigration authorities.

Two justices, conservatives Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, were listed by the court as having been in favor of reviewing the law, which was upheld last year by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

With the denial, the Supreme Court let stand the lower court’s resolution in favor of three California sanctuary laws, which limited law enforcement cooperation on immigration and banned state and local authorities from using their resources to enforce federal immigration laws.

At a 2018 round table on immigration, President Trump said the California legislation “provides safe harbor to some of the most vicious and violent offenders on Earth, like MS-13 gang members, putting innocent men, women, and children at the mercy of these sadistic criminals.”

That same year, the administration challenged the laws in court, leading to the 9th Circuit decision.

California authorities defended the laws, saying they were necessary to preserve the privacy of citizens and noncitizens alike and that they strengthened cooperation between communities and local law enforcement.

Solicitor General Noel Francisco asked the Supreme Court to intervene, arguing California’s “position seriously misunderstands both federal immigration law and the Tenth Amendment.”

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra on Monday praised the decision. 

“In California, we’ve seen the success that comes from building trust between law enforcement and our hard-working immigrant communities. The last thing we need to do is to erode that trust. Today America is experiencing the pain and protest that occurs when trust is broken,” said Becerra.

“That’s why this fight mattered so much. 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,” he added.

The decision is a rare high court setback for Trump on immigration, as the administration has previously convinced the Supreme Court to flip circuit court decisions on immigration.

It also comes as the court is due to decide the legality of Trump’s order to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, a decision that will likely frame the immigration debate through the November elections.


Tags California Clarence Thomas Donald Trump ICE Immigration and Customs Enforcement Samuel Alito sanctuary cities Supreme Court Xavier Becerra

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