Given its proximity to the southern border and the importance of agriculture to the state of California, it is no surprise to most people that the state’s laws are more lenient than others when it comes to immigration. After all, much of California’s economy depends on the work provided by immigrants, whether they are migrant farm workers or visa-holding skilled workers.
Recently, amid the furor around international immigration and so-called illegal immigration, Federal law and California law on immigration seem to clash. Thankfully, a district judge has recently upheld California’s two critical state laws on immigration, despite the conflict with federal standards.
This ruling offers a bright point of hope for those struggling to correct their legal status as immigrants in the United States, specifically in California.
California Sanctuary laws seem to conflict with federal immigration policy
The federal government has attempted to undermine California’s immigration policy by claiming that federal policies trump state rights on this critical issue. Specifically, federal policymakers are skeptical of the state’s sanctuary laws that offer some protections for immigrants without proper legal paperwork.
There are three such laws in California that the U.S. government sought to challenge based on federal policy. U.S. District Judge John Mendez ruled in support of two of these three laws while allowing the government to pursue legal action on the third.
The law that the judge specifically allowed the federal government to continue to attempt to block relates to employment. This law allows employers to deny entry to immigration officials into the business property without proper warrants. At this time, the federal government can continue to push on this particular issue.
Thankfully, the two other laws that the federal government takes issue with are being upheld. The judge chose to dismiss the government’s claim on these two laws. One of the laws limits demands for police cooperation with federal immigration officers.
The other law requires careful inspection of immigration detention facilities. The Trump Administration filed a lawsuit in March contesting the need to inspect these facilities, but Judge Mendez upheld California’s rights to protect its residents, regardless of status.
Immigration has become more complex in recent months
With increasingly strict rhetoric from the executive branch of the federal government and support from some lawmakers, immigration reform and crackdowns have sent tremors throughout the United States. There have been protests from coast to coast about policies that split children away from their parents.
States like California continue to welcome immigrants, even those whose legal status is not verified. The federal government hopes to undermine policies that show lenience toward immigrants who do not have all of the proper paperwork in place. For those seeking asylum or protected status as immigrants, it is important to stay informed about changes in federal policy as well as state law.