Supreme Court Delivers Surprise Immigration Defeat For Trump

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Even the two justices that President Donald Trump himself nominated for the U.S. Supreme Court weren’t enough to save the president’s team from a new resounding defeat. In a decision revealed on Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court has denied the Trump administration’s request to have them hear an appeal in a case the Trump team brought against California immigration laws. When Jeff Sessions was still in office as Attorney General, the Trump administration brought a lawsuit against the state of California’s prohibition on using local law enforcement as what seems like an across-the-board arm of federal immigration enforcement, and in light of the Supreme Court’s new decision, that prohibition will stand.

The Los Angeles Times reports:

‘The Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear the Trump administration’s challenge to a California “sanctuary” law, leaving intact rules that prohibit law enforcement officials from aiding federal agents in taking custody of immigrants as they are released from jail… The court’s action is a major victory for California in its long-running battle with President Trump… Even Trump’s two appointees — Justice Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh — refused to hear the administration’s appeal.’

The prohibition on a blanket intermingling of local law enforcement with federal immigration enforcement makes the state of California what’s popularly called a “sanctuary” jurisdiction. President Donald Trump and his supporters have alleged that sanctuary cities and states let violent criminals escape accountability, but that’s simply not true. All crimes are still handled in accordance with the law — local authorities simply do not automatically comply with demands from federal immigration authorities.

As California Attorney General Xavier Becerra put it, discussing the state’s sanctuary state law:

‘SB 54 regulates the use of the state’s own resources. It establishes the conditions under which state and local law enforcement agencies may deploy public funds and personnel to assist with federal immigration enforcement.’

The Trump administration’s lawyer Noel Francisco had claimed in his own court filing that as “a result of SB 54, criminal aliens have evaded the detention and removal that Congress prescribed, and have instead returned to the civilian population, where they are disproportionately likely to commit additional crimes,” but that claim seems dubious at best. California “cooperates with federal agents if they have a judicial warrant or if the immigrants are being held for serious or violent crimes, including prisoners who are serving time in the state system,” as the Los Angeles Times explains that the state’s legal team insisted. Federal authorities simply don’t get to demand that an immigrant be handed over and have their demand fulfilled just for the sake of it.

The Trump administration has consistently made anti-immigrant rhetoric a key part of their agenda. President Trump, for instance, has insisted that there’s an “invasion” at the country’s southern border, which is a ludicrous claim. Even after a mass shooter who killed 23 people at a Wal-Mart in El Paso, Texas, used the exact same rhetoric about a supposed immigrant “invasion,” Trump refused to distance himself from the claim, which is among a whole host of brazenly racist nonsense that the president has employed.