Xavier Becerra, center, accompanied by Joseph Crowley, D-N.Y., right. 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
When the Trump administration decided to withhold federal law enforcement grant funds from California because of its sanctuary laws, Attorney General Xavier Becerra promised to #resist and fight through the courts. His resistance hit a roadblock, though, Monday when a federal judge in Northern California denied Becerra’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction in the case.
Judge William Orrick didn’t rule on any of the overall issues in the case, simply stating:
“The injury threatened is not irreparable. The amount of money at stake is small compared to the state’s budget. Payment is delayed, for the moment. The DOJ appears to be using its regular administrative process to decide whether it will follow its initial inclinations.”
In the 28-page ruling Orrick also said he believed there are genuine issues over the differing interpretations of Section 1373 of the U.S. Code and the Tenth Amendment the state and the federal government argued, and that:
“The issues in this case will benefit from further development. It is unclear to me whether the State’s or federal government’s interpretation of Section 1373 and the Tenth Amendment will prevail on the personal information and release date issues; moreover, this lawsuit addresses a plethora of other issues besides those discrete ones.”
While Orrick writes that the “record is not sufficient at this stage to determine that the State has shown a likelihood of success on the merits,” other sections of the ruling hint that things don’t look good for the federal government going forward. Of the California sanctuary statutes, he writes:
“The statutes strengthen community policing efforts and improve public safety because immigrants are no more likely to commit crimes than native-born Americans and because a clear distinction between local law enforcement and immigration enforcement results in safer communities.”
Mind. Blown. And then:
“As I understand it, the disagreement here involves a subset of detained, undocumented people. The State’s statutes do not impact the free flow of this information regarding those accused of hundreds of the most serious state crimes; it exempts those arrested or convicted of less serious, largely non-violent, offenses.”
The last sentence evidences an astounding ignorance of the types of criminals protected by this law. For the most part these illegal aliens have to have already been convicted of the most serious state crimes prior to their current lock-up before local officials are allowed to communicate with federal officials – out of some misguided sense of “due process” the California Department of Justice doesn’t allow its own legal, law-abiding citizens when it comes to other issues.
In other words, the illegal alien could have a number of DUI’s and misdemeanor assaults, domestic violence, and sexual offense charges and still be protected by the “California Values Act.”
For one to understand the circumstances under which local law enforcement is permitted to communicate with ICE, a flow chart would have to be consulted. Literally. The only situation under which law enforcement could communicate or cooperate with ICE about an illegal alien like the one I described in the last paragraph is if they were charged with “a serious or violent felony, as identified in subdivision (c) of Section 1192.7 or subdivision (c) of Section 667.5 of the Penal Code, respectively, or a felony that is punishable by imprisonment in state prison,” and a magistrate had found probable cause for that serious or violent felony.
While Californians interested in law and order and safe communities can breathe a small sigh of relief that Judge Orrick isn’t forcing the federal government to provide funding to a jurisdiction in open defiance of federal law, it’s troubling that throughout the rest of the opinion the vague interest of “encouraging cooperation between law enforcement and immigrant communities” takes precedence over the safety of the state’s legal and law-abiding residents.