Earlier this month, on July 4th, Sacramento-based U.S. District Court Judge John Mendez issued a mixed decision, rejecting some of the Department of Justice requests for a preliminary injunction seeking to block California sanctuary laws while approving other parts of the petition.
The decision was widely reported in the mainstream media as a victory against an overbearing Department of Justice, intent on tearing illegal alien families apart.
Siding with the State of California, Mendez ruled that the United States could not conscript state officers to enforce federal laws or prohibit states from enacting laws that that prohibited state officers from enforcing federal laws, citing a Supreme Court ruling (New York vs. United States). Mendez further ruled that the State of California had the right to inspect federal prisons and detention centers within it's jurisdiction, and that inspections were not an undue burden.
The Justice Department first brought the lawsuit against California in March, arguing that the state's sanctuary laws effectively hindered immigration enforcement. The decision means that the State of California will be able to continue limiting cooperation with federal immigration enforcement.
Ruling in favor of the Department of Justice, Mendez found California's prohibition of employers cooperation with federal law enforcement, troubling due to the precarious situation it places the employers. Under the injunction, employers cannot be prosecuted for allowing or consenting to a federal immigration enforcement agent's request to enter nonpublic areas in the workplace, or voluntarily allowing the federal immigration agent access to employee records.
California employers are still required to provide employees notice of an upcoming federal immigration agency action within 72 hours of receiving the request and must provide a notice of deficiency to employees and results of the federal inspection within 72 hours.
Open borders advocates hailed the decision as a big win for Attorney General Xavier Becerra and the State of California. Becerra issued a statement that read, "Though the Trump Administration may continue to attack a state like California and its ability to make its own laws, we will continue to protect our constitutional authority to protect our residents and the rule of law."
In the carefully crafted response, Becerra states that his office is committed to protecting residents and the rule of law, while actually doing the opposite by handcuffing law enforcement and prisons by forcing them to release criminal illegal aliens back into the community, instead of holding them for ICE removal.
Citing community safety, a growing number of county and municipal governments in the state have joined the ongoing litigation against California sanctuary laws by the Department of Justice.
The decision is not a final ruling on the matter. Mendez directed the parties to file a status report before the end of the month and explain how the case will proceed. The dispute is expected to eventually wind up in a federal appeals court, where the Trump administration has prevailed against what it views as a challenge to it's authority over immigration.