SACRAMENTO — A federal judge refused Thursday to block California from restricting local law enforcement cooperation with immigration agents, an early legal victory for the state’s “sanctuary” law.
U.S. District Judge John A. Mendez, in rejecting the position of the Trump administration that California’s law is an attempt to stymie immigration enforcement, wrote that “refusing to help is not the same as impeding.” “Standing aside does not equate to standing in the way,” Mendez wrote.
Mendez’s ruling said because Congress had not explicitly required state or local cooperation, the Trump administration could not block what was otherwise the cancellation of a voluntary effort.
The judge also upheld the legality of a second California law, allowing the state’s attorney general to visit federal immigration detention centers. He rejected part of a third state law — one which imposes fines on private business employers who voluntarily allow immigration agents into the workplace.