Ira Mehlman of the Federation for American Immigration Reform said in an interview with Spero News that California is trying to “run out the clock” in its continued legal wrangling with the Trump administration over the enforcement of immigration law in the Golden State. On Thursday, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer announced that federal district judge Manuel Real (92) -- who was appointed by President Lyndon Johnson in 1966 -- ruled in favor of the metropolis, which had claimed in a lawsuit that it was being punished by the Department of Justice for a lack of cooperation in immigration matters.

On Thursday, Feuer said, "This is a complete victory and this is yet another dagger in the heart of the administration's efforts to use federal funds as a weapon to make local jurisdictions complicit in it's civil immigration enforcement policies." 

“These lawsuits are filed before judges that they know will give them favorable rulings,” said Mehlman, who added that the Trump administration is facing various lawsuits filed by state and local governments that disagree with his policy initiatives and executive orders. “I think that these will be overturned, but in the meantime they are delaying the process. The strategy here is to try to run the clock.” FAIR is an advocacy organization that opposes illegal immigration.

"Today, the court said loud and clear what we have said loud and clear. Quit politicizing public safety," said Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti (D). According to Feuer, the ruling is effectively a national injunction against the Trump administration that blocks its enforcement civil immigration related regulations. "We won't be bullied and we can't be bought. You cannot force us to go against our policies, to go against our principles by withholding money," said LAPD Chief Charlie Beck.

At stake are millions of dollars in federal aid intended for community policing activities. Los Angeles received $3.125 million. However, when Los Angeles refused to comply with requests from the Department of Justice to alert immigration officers before releasing immigrant inmates and allow interviews, the Trump administration withheld any money for Los Angeles from the nationwide pool of $98 million.

Feuer filed a lawsuit in federal court in September, arguing that Attorney General Jeff Sessions had exceeded his authority and violated the U.S. Constitution by changing the terms for the Community Oriented Policing Services program.

U.S. District Judge Manuel Real -- the oldest serving active federal judge -- ruled that the Administration’s new funding rules violated the separation of powers in the Constitution. According to Real, the Trump administration had "upset the constitutional balance between state and federal power by requiring state and local law enforcement to partner with federal authorities." Real also ruled that the Trump administration had encroached on Congressional authority in distributing federal funds. The remedy, Real ruled, was to issue the permanent injunction against the Justice Department. Born in California, Real is the son of two immigrant parents from Spain.

Mehlman said that there is ample precedent for the federal government to issue requirements for the spending of federal funds. He cited a move by the Obama administration in 2016 that instructed schools that they could jeopardize the federal funds if they did not comply with the administration’s demand to make all school restrooms transgender. He predicted that the injunction applied by judge Real will be challenged either on its own or along with similar lawsuits filed by other jurisdictions. The next step for the decision in the lawsuit filed by Los Angeles against Attorney General Sessions could be the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which is headquartered in San Francisco and overseen by Judge Anthony Kennedy of the U.S. Supreme Court. Kennedy has often been a swing vote in split decisions under Chief Justice John Roberts.

“Schools across the country strive to create and sustain inclusive, supportive, safe, and nondiscriminatory communities for all students. In recent years, we have received an increasing number of questions from parents, teachers, principals, and school superintendents about civil rights protections for transgender students. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX) and its implementing regulations prohibit sex discrimination in educational programs and activities operated by recipients of Federal financial assistance.”

“As a condition of receiving Federal funds, a school agrees that it will not exclude, separate, deny benefits to, or otherwise treat differently on the basis of sex any person in its educational programs or activities unless expressly authorized to do so under Title IX or its implementing regulations.

“The Departments treat a student’s gender identity as the student’s sex for purposes of Title IX and its implementing regulations. This means that a school must not treat a transgender student differently from the way it treats other students of the same gender identity. The Departments’ interpretation is consistent with courts’ and other agencies’ interpretations of Federal laws prohibiting sex discrimination.”

The “Dear Colleague” letter from the Department of Education in 2016 detailed federal guidelines for transgender students and bathroom use, while also providing definitions for the terms “Gender identity,” “Sex assigned at birth,” “Transgender,” and “Gender transition.”

See: City of Los Angeles Motion to Intervene



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Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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