The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled against the Trump administration in its efforts to stop California from enforcing most of the provisions of its “sanctuary state” laws. A three-judge 9th Circuit panel ruled Friday to uphold most of a U.S. district court decision issued last summer.

Key Points:

  • The panel upheld the lower court’s ruling against enjoining a part of Assembly Bill 450 that requires employers to notify employees of any impending employment record inspections (e.g., I-9 inspections) within 72 hours of receiving notice of such an inspection.
  • The panel declined to stop enforcement of Senate Bill 54, which limits how much information state and local law enforcement can share with federal immigration authorities and prevents local authorities from detaining individuals for the purpose of transferring them to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody.
  • The panel ruled that the portions of Assembly Bill 103 that require state examination of the federal apprehension and transfer of immigration detainees violate the doctrine of intergovernmental immunity and, therefore, should not be enforced. Other portions of AB 103 were permitted to stand.
  • The panel’s ruling left in place the lower court’s ruling to halt enforcement of parts of AB 450 that would have prohibited employers from allowing federal immigration enforcement agents to enter their premises without a judicial warrant. It also let stand the district court injunction against enforcing a portion of AB 450 that prohibits employers from reverifying employment eligibility of employees unless required to do so by federal law.

BAL Analysis: The ruling largely reinforces the status quo, pending additional litigation. Most of the provisions of California’s sanctuary state laws that were challenged in the appeal will be allowed to stand. However, key provisions of AB 450 remain enjoined. BAL will continue following the litigation as it moves through the court system and will alert clients to any significant changes.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact

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