To survive a legal challenge by the U.S. Department of Justice, California must prove that its sanctuary policies don’t interfere with the federal government’s ability to enforce immigration laws, experts say.
“California will make a case that they are not standing in the way,” said John Dinan, a Wake Forest University professor who specializes in federalism. “The Justice Department will stress the degree to which this stands in the way of federal immigration law.”
In a lawsuit filed Tuesday, the Justice Department targeted three California laws that aim to shield immigrants from the Trump Administration’s widening deportation dragnet.
Harmeet Dhillon, a San Francisco attorney who serves on the leadership team for the Republican National Committee in California, says California’s list of crimes doesn’t match up with crimes the federal government deems deportable.
“California says we’re going to superimpose our own judgment on who should be deported,” Dhillon said.
Dhillon believes most sheriffs in California want to work with ICE to get “dangerous aliens” off the street when they get out of jail. She says California imposes burdensome recordkeeping requirements on sheriffs that choose to share information with ICE.
“It’s imposing dollar costs on people for complying with federal law,” she said. “I would view that as an unconstitutional burden.”