The Department of Justice filed a federal lawsuit against California late Tuesday to invalidate three of the state’s “sanctuary state” laws, CNN reported.
The Trump administration, seeking cooperation from California as it increases deportations, filed the lawsuit in the U.S. Eastern District of California, the Sacramento Bee reported.
The suit targets three California laws: Senate Bill 54, Assembly Bill 450 and Assembly Bill 103, the Bee reported. In the lawsuit, the federal government argues that the legislation violates the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution and interferes with the enforcement of federal immigration laws.
The suit names both California Gov. Jerry Brown and Attorney General Xavier Becerra personally as defendants, the Bee reported. Both men said the lawsuit was meritless, CNN reported.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions is expected to announce the case Wednesday in Sacramento at a meeting of the California Peace Officers Association, the Los Angeles Times reported, citing excerpts of his remarks released by the Justice Department.
“The Department of Justice and the Trump administration are going to fight these unjust, unfair, and unconstitutional policies that have been imposed on you,” Sessions will tell the law enforcement officers. “We are fighting to make your jobs safer and to help you reduce crime in America. And I believe that we are going to win.”
In a statement, Brown condemned the lawsuit as meritless.
“At a time of unprecedented political turmoil, Jeff Sessions has come to California to further divide and polarize America,” Brown said. “Jeff, these political stunts may be the norm in Washington, but they don't work here. SAD!!!”
"No matter what happens in Washington, #California will stay the course and enforce all our laws and protect all our people," Becerra tweeted.
"We will continue to exercise our legal right to exist as a sanctuary city," Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said in a statement. “We will continue to inform all residents about their Constitutional rights, and we will continue to support California's sanctuary status.”
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg said the federal government’s legal strategy “has not been impressive,” the Bee reported.
“If he wants to come to … further try to intimidate the city, the state, but more importantly the Dreamers and the hard-working families, he might as well cancel his flight, because we’re going to react in the same way we have reacted consistently," Steinberg said. "We are a proud safe haven, a proud sanctuary city, a proud sanctuary state and we stand with our neighbors.”
California passed the laws last year in opposition to President Donald Trump's aggressive immigration enforcement agenda, CNN reported.