The Justice Department filed suit this week to stop California from enforcing three state laws that it says obstruct the federal government’s ability to enforce federal immigration law. The government asked the court to permanently enjoin:

  • Assembly Bill 450 (the Immigrant Worker Protection Act), which prohibits employers from allowing federal immigration enforcement agents to enter their premises without a judicial warrant.
  • Assembly Bill 103, which directs the California attorney general’s office to investigate enforcement efforts of federal agents.
  • Senate Bill 54, California’s “sanctuary state” bill, 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.

Background: President Donald Trump and other administration officials have criticized so-called sanctuary jurisdictions, and the lawsuit represents part of a broader effort to prevent state and local authorities from hindering federal enforcement efforts. The complaint filed late Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, asks the court to halt the enforcement of the state laws, claiming they are “preempted by federal law and impermissibly discriminate against the United States.” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said at a press conference that the state laws are “fully constitutional and provide for the safety and welfare of all of our people.”

BAL Analysis: AB 450 and the other immigration laws challenged by the lawsuit remain in effect and will continue to be enforced unless a judge rules in the federal government’s favor. BAL will follow the litigation as it moves through the court system and will alert clients to any changes. An FAQ on what employers need to know about AB 450 is available here.

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

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