Crime & Justice

Judge denies Trump administration attempt to block California sanctuary law

FILE: People protest outside a speech by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on March 7, 2018, in Sacramento, California. Sessions admonished state politicians for not cooperating with federal authorities on immigration enforcement issues.
FILE: People protest outside a speech by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on March 7, 2018, in Sacramento, California. Sessions admonished state politicians for not cooperating with federal authorities on immigration enforcement issues.
NOAH BERGER/AFP/Getty Images

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A federal judge in Sacramento on Thursday dealt a blow to the Trump administration’s efforts to challenge California’s sanctuary law, known as S.B. 54.

The U.S. Department of Justice sought to block three California laws that aim to protect unauthorized immigrants, the main one being the sanctuary law, which limits local police cooperation with immigration agents.

U.S. District Court Judge John Mendez disagreed with the administration's argument that S.B. 54 impedes immigration agents from doing their jobs. He wrote that “refusing to help is not the same as impeding.”

The judge also denied the administration's attempt to block A.B. 103, a law that gives the state more authority to oversee immigrant detention facilities in California. But he partially blocked A.B. 450, a law known as the Immigrant Worker Protection Act. While employers in the state may still warn workers about immigration audits when employee documents are reviewed, agents may not be restricted from entering a business, the judge ruled.

It's not clear if the federal government will appeal the decision.