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The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals dealt a heavy blow to California’s attempt to ban private immigration detention centers by ruling that the liberal state’s 2019 law is unconstitutional.
A larger panel of the traditionally liberal-leaning court ruled against the law on Monday, after ruling against it in a three-person panel last year. It found that the law violated the Supremacy Clause, which prohibits states from interfering with the operations of the federal government.
The law, signed by Governor Gavin Newsom in 2019, would have phased out privately run immigration facilities that are contracted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The law came as California and Democratic states across the country were putting pressure on the Trump administration over its handling of illegal immigration.
California describes itself as a “sanctuary” state that limits state and local cooperation with ICE. The federal government relies almost exclusively on two privately owned facilities in California, and the law would have phased them out.
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But, in a ruling by Obama-appointed Judge Jacqueline H. Nguyen, the court said California would violate the “core promise” of the Supremacy Clause.
“To comply with California law, ICE would have to cease its ongoing immigration detention operations in California and take an entirely new approach in the state,” the ruling said.
California Attorney General Rob Bonta’s office told Fox News Digigital that it was still reviewing the decision but was “deeply disappointed in the outcome.”
“Assembly Bill 32 was enacted to protect the health and welfare of Californians and recognized the federal government’s own documented concerns with private prisons and for-profit detention facilities,” his office said. “At the California Department of Justice, we will continue to do our part to uphold the dignity and rights of everyone in our state.”
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The move was welcomed by immigration hawks, who saw the ruling as a blow to those seeking to abolish immigration enforcement.
“Open borders politicians and activists have tried, for years, to abolish ICE by eliminating the very government contractors that help with detention operations,” RJ Hauman, head of government relations for the Federation for Reform, told Fox News. of American Immigration (FAIR). Digital. “We have seen these efforts unfold in many ways, especially in California, and their efforts were rightly declared unconstitutional.”
“The Constitution is clear: A state cannot interfere with federal immigration enforcement, something even the notorious Ninth Circuit agrees with,” he said.
The ruling comes at a time when “sanctuary” policies are being fiercely debated across the country amid a raging border crisis, which has prompted Republican governors to bus or fly immigrants to “sanctuary” jurisdictions. , including New York City and Washington DC.
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A group of republican senators Last week it requested information from the Department of Homeland Security about the destinations cited by illegal immigrants being processed and released in the US, amid concerns that “sanctuary” cities are driving the crisis.
There have been more than 2.1 million encounters with migrants at the southern border this fiscal year so far, with more than 200,000 encounters with migrants in August alone.
Associated Press contributed to this report.