Speaking to a room of law enforcement officials at the California Peace Officer’s Association in Sacramento, California, an infectious illness named Jeff Sessions bemoaned violent crime in America, the rise of the drug fentanyl, and—though not at all related to those issues—undocumented immigrants.
After characterizing undocumented immigrants, who are less likely to commit crimes than U.S. citizens, as “criminals” for what seems like the umpteenth time, the attorney general said, “California, we have a problem.” (California, we do not.)
On Tuesday evening, Sessions’s Justice Department doubled down on its relentless effort to deport brown and black people by suing the state of California over a set of laws enacted to blunt the impact of the Trump administration’s escalating enforcement efforts. The lawsuit alleges that the laws “reflect a deliberate effort by California to obstruct the United States’ enforcement of federal immigration law,” reports the New York Times, and “impede consultation and communication between federal and state law enforcement officials.”
The suit requests a preliminary injunction against three laws: Senate Bill 54, a California law that limits how state and local officials question, hold, and share information about individuals with immigration officials; the law also requires law enforcement agencies to submit annual reports on transactions with federal authorities, including on individuals who are transferred to federal custody. The second law, Assembly Bill 450, prohibits private employers from accommodating requests made by federal immigration agents at worksites. The third law, Assembly Bill 103, mandates state inspections of federal detention facilities that hold immigrants facing deportation.
“A series of actions and events has occurred here that directly and adversely affects the work of our federal officers,” Sessions said of the laws on Wednesday. Calling them “harmful,” “unjust,” and “unconstitutional,” he argued that the laws obstructed federal law and represented a “radical extremist” philosophy on open borders.
The suit is one of the Trump administration’s most aggressive attacks on undocumented immigrants, but hardly surprising given that Donald Trump has sought to end DACA, the Obama-era protections for immigrants brought to the country as children, and that both he and Sessions have repeatedly threatened to pull federal funding from sanctuary cities. Immigrant rights activists across the country have pointed out that the system is rampant with abuse, as federal agents round up and detain people without due process on suspicion of immigration status, which is tantamount to racial profiling, break up families, and scare undocumented communities from reporting crimes or abuse for fear of deportation.
California Gov. Jerry Brown and California State Attorney General Xavier Becerra don’t appear intimidated by the suit, however. “We’ve seen this B-rated movie before,” said Becerra on a call with reporters on Tuesday. “We’re not doing their bidding on immigration enforcement and deportation.”
Meanwhile, Brown trolled Trump: