As Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) continues to arrest immigrants and rip apart families in California over the fierce objections of lawmakers, Trump’s Justice Department announced on Tuesday that it is suing the state over its policies designed to protect undocumented immigrants from deportation.
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“This is yet another example of Donald Trump’s relentless attack on immigrant communities.”
—National Immigration Law Center
Immigrant rights groups and state officials—including California attorney general Xavier Becerra and Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown—denounced the lawsuit as yet another attempt by the Trump White House to intimidate immigrant communities and vowed to defeat the Justice Department in court.
“The Trump administration’s threat against California is an affront to state residents and the local elected officials who have passed crucial laws to assure their communities that they will prioritize their safety and uphold their rights,” Grisel Ruiz, staff attorney at the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, said in a statement on Tuesday. “By declining to voluntarily spend their resources on a federal effort to round-up immigrants and separate them from their families, California is standing strong and not standing down.”
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The Justice Department’s suit comes just days after acting ICE director Thomas Homan—who recently boasted about how much he’s “enjoying” rounding up immigrants and tearing families apart—attacked Oakland’s Democratic Mayor Libby Schaaf for warning her residents about impending federal raids.
As Common Dreams reported last week, Schaaf later stood by her efforts to protect immigrants from ICE, which immigrant rights groups have denounced as a “rogue agency” that “routinely flouts the constitution.”
With Attorney General Jeff Sessions traveling to Sacramento to tout the new lawsuit on Wednesday, the PICO Network—a multi-faith coalition of progressive immigrant justice organizations based in California—announced plans to continue mass acts of civil disobedience against the Trump administration’s “mass incarceration and deportation force.”
“For undocumented families who already live in fear of being separated from their families, we know U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ announcement brings heightened anxiety,” said Rich Morales, campaign director for PICO National Network’s immigrant justice initiative, LA RED. “This is exactly what the Sessions wants; to coerce state and local officials in California and beyond to be enablers in President Trump’s aggressive deportation machine. But we will not back down from our commitment to keep parents with their children.”
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