2018 News Releases

AG Derek Schmidt: States don’t have authority to impede federal immigration law

Release Date: Mar 27, 2018

TOPEKA – (March 27, 2018) – States do not have authority to impede enforcement of federal immigration law, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt has told a federal district court in the Eastern District of California.

In a case arising from California, Schmidt and 15 other state attorneys general and two governors filed a friend-of-the-court brief yesterday in support of the U.S. Department of Justice’s motion for a preliminary injunction. The DOJ argues that three California laws designed to interfere with or block federal immigration enforcement are preempted by federal immigration law.

The California case centers on whether three laws passed by the California Legislature that codify its sanctuary policies are permitted under the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The laws in question prohibit private employers from voluntarily giving information to federal immigration officers, establish state oversight of the immigration enforcement activities of federal agents, and limit the scenarios in which state or local law-enforcement agencies may transfer a detained individual to the custody of federal immigration authorities.

The states noted that although they generally oppose federal preemption of state laws, in this case the U.S. Supreme Court, in Arizona v. United States, already has determined that federal immigration law preempts state authority to enforce restrictions on illegal immigration.

“California may disagree with federal immigration policy – just as Arizona disagreed with federal immigration policy in Arizona v. United States,” the states wrote. “But if various Arizona laws designed to enforce federal immigration law were preempted in Arizona (as the Supreme Court held), then California’s laws designed to interfere with or block federal immigration enforcement are equally preempted.”

In addition to Kansas, the other states joining the brief are Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, West Virginia and Texas.

The case is United States of America v. State of California, et al. A copy of the brief is available at http://bit.ly/2GwzrQm.

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News releases issued prior to 2011 are available through an archive hosted by the Kansas State Library.