Marie McIntosh, ILRC

For Immediate Release: July 5, 2018
Contact: Marie McIntosh, mmcintosh [at] ilrc.org (415) 321-8507

Immigrant Rights Groups Applaud California Judge’s Decision to Uphold State Laws Protecting Immigrants

This morning, United States District Court Judge John Mendez, appointed by former President George W. Bush, rejected the Trump administration’s specious lawsuit that would halt California’s “Sanctuary State” law, which limits local entanglement with deportation forces bent on carrying out Trump’s callous agenda to remove immigrants from the Golden State.

Judge Mendez also refused to freeze another key law, AB 103, which tasks the California Attorney General with monitoring immigration jails, thereby increasing transparency to ensure detained immigrants are being held in humane conditions and receiving due process. As a result, both SB 54 and AB 103 remain entirely in effect—a resounding defeat for the Trump administration. Judge Mendez also rejected the request to suspend the “employee notice” provision of AB 450, the Immigrant Worker Protection Act. However, the judge temporarily suspended certain provisions of AB 450, including requiring employers to request a warrant signed by a judge before allowing ICE agents access to private areas of the workplace. Under the U.S. Constitution, employers can still choose to deny ICE access without a warrant.

Said Christina Fialho, staff attorney and co-executive director of Freedom for Immigrants (formerly CIVIC),

“California's immigrant prison system is a hotbed of abuse and mismanagement. We have documented widespread sexual and physical assault, medical neglect, and even maggots in the food. Through our advocacy last year, we ensured that our state Attorney General has the power to monitor these isolated prisons and jails. Today's ruling is a victory not only for California but for all states working to hold the federal government accountable.”

Said Grace Meng, senior researcher at Human Rights Watch

“As the Trump administration continues to ram record numbers of immigrants through an abusive detention and deportation system, it is more crucial than ever that states step up to protect the basic rights of their residents. Today’s ruling correctly recognizes California’s authority to shine a spotlight onto this opaque and dangerous system.”

Said Grisel Ruiz, staff attorney at the Immigrant Legal Resource Center

“The laws upheld by Judge Mendez represent a significant step forward for advancing immigrant rights in the state of California. While we’re disappointed that parts of AB 450 were temporarily suspended, we consider today’s decision to be a great victory in the fight against this administration’s goal to chip away at the foundational rights afforded by the United States Constitution. These laws represent the will of Californians to protect immigrants from ICE and we hope today’s victory inspires lawmakers in other states to follow suit.”

For interviews with Immigrant Legal Resource Center, please contact Marie McIntosh at mmcintosh [at] ilrc.org or (415) 321-8507


About Freedom for Immigrants

Freedom for Immigrants is a national nonprofit working to abolish the U.S. immigration detention system. We visit and monitor 55 immigration detention facilities and run the largest national hotline for people in immigration detention. Through these windows into the system, we gather data and stories to combat injustice at the individual level and push systemic change. www.freedomforimmigrants.org

About the Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Watch is a nonprofit, nongovernmental human rights organization made up of roughly 400 staff members around the globe. Its staff consists of human rights professionals including country experts, lawyers, journalists, and academics of diverse backgrounds and nationalities. Established in 1978, Human Rights Watch is known for its accurate fact-finding, impartial reporting, effective use of media, and targeted advocacy, often in partnership with local human rights groups.

About the Immigrant Legal Resource Center

The Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) is a national nonprofit that works with immigrants, community organizations, legal professionals, and policymakers to build a democratic society that values diversity and the rights of all people. Through community education programs, legal training & technical assistance, and policy development & advocacy, the ILRC’s mission is to protect and defend the fundamental rights of immigrant families and communities. www.ilrc.org