Ninth Circuit Upholds California Laws Protecting Immigrants, Rejects Lawsuit by Trump Administration

For Immediate Release: April 18, 2019

Ninth Circuit Upholds California Laws Protecting Immigrants, Rejects Lawsuit by Trump Administration

SAN FRANCISCO–Today, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals largely ruled in favor of three California state laws that protect the rights of immigrants after finding the Trump administration’s lawsuit without merit. The Ninth Circuit rejected the Trump administration’s attempt to suspend California's “Sanctuary State” law, known as the CA Values Act or SB 54, which limits local and state law enforcement from acting as deportation agents. The panel also left intact the vast majority of AB 103, a “Dignity not Detention” law that requires oversight of immigration jails from the California Attorney General. Finally, the panel maintained a lower court’s ruling on a third law, AB 450, the Immigrant Worker Protection Act, which upheld a provision that requires employers to notify workers of upcoming I-9 inspections but enjoined other worker protections.

In response to the ruling, Grisel Ruiz, staff attorney at the Immigrant Legal Resource Center said:

“Today’s ruling rejects the federal government’s attempt to force localities into carrying out a hateful and discriminatory agenda. This decision underscores what we’ve always known: local governments are within their right to limit their involvement with deportations and detention, now codified and upheld with SB 54.

"The decision is also a victory for transparency and accountability. With the foundation of AB 103 upheld, the Court has reinforced a critical fact: States have a responsibility to protect the health, safety, and legal rights of their residents, and to do that, there must be transparency, oversight, and accountability in detention centers.

“Even with today’s ruling, we have to remain diligent. We know that the conditions under which immigrants are detained in state facilities are inhumane; they experience prolonged periods of confinement, difficulties obtaining medical care, and obstacles to accessing legal representation. We will continue fighting against the Trump administration’s efforts to conceal the unjust and appalling conditions that immigrants are forced to endure in detention centers.”


The Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) is a national nonprofit that works with immigrants, community organizations, legal professionals, and policy makers 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 works to protect and defend the fundamental rights of immigrant families and communities.