The Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) has filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in City of Los Angeles v. Sessions, in which Los Angeles is suing to protect its extreme sanctuary policies.
According to a release from IRLI, Attorney General Sessions has made a given city’s cooperation with federal immigration enforcement a factor in his decision whether to award that city federal grants. Los Angeles claims this factor is unfair, since it does not wish to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement, and the factor puts it on an uneven playing field with cities who do cooperate.
In fact, as IRLI discovered, Los Angeles goes far beyond neutral non-cooperation. In an executive order IRLI found in the files of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), of which IRLI is a supporting organization, the Mayor of Los Angeles forbids city officials from giving any assistance whatsoever to federal immigration agents. The mayor goes so far as to forbid city officials from providing information on release dates of illegal alien inmates when asked, or letting federal agents into city jails to interview such inmates and assume federal custody in a controlled and safe environment. Such extreme noncooperation, IRLI argues, crosses the line into interfering with federal agents in the performance of their duty to enforce federal law, and thus violates the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
“Los Angeles is only on an uneven playing field because of its own unlawful policies,” said Christopher Hajec, IRLI’s director of litigation. “For that reason, it cannot invoke the jurisdiction of the court to protect its policies with an injunction.”
“In this executive order IRLI found, Los Angeles pledges massive resistance to federal law enforcement in that city,” commented Dale L. Wilcox, IRLI’s executive director.
“In doing so, it puts itself on the same footing as the segregationists of old. It is a misunderstanding of federalism to think that states can block federal agents from doing their jobs,” Wilcox continued. “There are 500 some sanctuary jurisdictions in the country, and counting. That is a large part of the territory of the United States. Jurisdictions trying to stop the federal government from enforcing federal laws over wide swaths of its territory are attempting to nullify federal laws they don’t like. They lack that prerogative in our system.”
The case is City of Los Angeles v. Sessions, No. 2:17-cv-07215 (C.D. Cal.).