Supreme Court lets California’s immigrant ‘sanctuary’ law stand

The Supreme Court on Monday rejected the Trump administration’s request for it to consider throwing out California’s so-called “sanctuary state” law.

The justices’ order leaves in place lower court rulings that upheld the 2017 law, which limits ways local law enforcement can help federal immigration authorities pursue undocumented immigrants who’ve been charged with nonviolent crimes.

The unexpected news drew strong reactions from people across Southern California who for nearly three years have led the charge both to support and oppose the strongest anti-deportation law in the country.

“We’re really excited and happy that the law stands, and that our communities are going to continue to be safe, and that our dollars won’t be spent in supporting Donald Trump’s agenda to separate families,” said Javier Hernandez, director of the Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice, based in Ontario.

Almas Sayeed, a Los Angeles-based attorney with the California Immigrant Policy Center, which has advocated for the bill, said the news hadn’t really sunk in Monday morning. Given the conservative makeup of the Supreme Court, Sayeed and some other advocates said they’d been expecting justices to take up the case and were preparing to help defend the law, perhaps next fall.

“There was a fight from day one with the Trump administration when this law was passed,” she said. “But this absolutely settles it.”

Don Barnes, sheriff of Orange County, which joined Trump’s lawsuit against the state, said the Supreme Court’s decision doesn’t change his opposition to the sanctuary law, which he believes has made the state less safe.

“Communication among law enforcement partners on shared threats is critical to the safety of all members of the public,” Barnes said. “I urge lawmakers to reconsider this law.”

California passed Senate Bill 54, or the California Values Act, in fall 2017 following President Donald Trump’s crackdown on illegal immigration.

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