Judge shuts down challenge to sanctuary laws... for now

We had another ruling in the battle over sanctuary city laws in California yesterday and it didn’t go well for the federal government. A federal judge in Sacramento dismissed two challenges from the White House which would have invalidated a pair of the state’s sanctuary laws while allowing the challenge to a third law to proceed. While disappointing to immigration hawks, this decision had been predicted by multiple observers who felt that it was an overreach by the White House into state sovereignty. (Washington Times)

A federal judge has dismissed the federal government’s claim that U.S. law trumps two California laws intended to protect immigrants who are in the country illegally.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge John Mendez follows his ruling last week that found California was within its rights to pass two of the three sanctuary laws.

He ruled Monday that the federal government could proceed with its attempt to block part of a third California sanctuary law.

This challenge was on shaky ground from the beginning, particularly in terms of small government conservatism and a belief in states’ rights. The most desirable state of affairs in terms of law enforcement is one where state and federal officials work together in solidarity to enforce all the laws of the land. But if push comes to shove, the state retains certain rights. They can’t actively block the feds from enforcing federal law, but it appears that they can certainly refuse to help them out. It may be despicable, but California does seem to be within their rights here.

The exception in these rulings dealt with a third law which didn’t directly impact state and local law enforcement as much as private business. California passed a law which forbids employers from cooperating with immigration enforcement officials. That’s an entirely different ball of wax. In that case, they are essentially mandating lawless behavior and sticking the state’s beak into the private sector. Refusing to cooperate with an immigration raid on your business property can leave you in legal jeopardy yourself. This law puts business owners between the devil and the deep blue sea so that one needs to be tossed.

There’s a solution to the problem of California making the jobs of immigration enforcement officials more difficult, but it isn’t likely to be found through a court challenge. The remaining sane voters in the state need to reject these laws, either via referendum or by kicking out the lawmakers who keep passing them. Is there actually a sufficiently large pool of sanity left in the Golden State to do that? I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for it to happen.

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