One of the most liberal federal appeals courts in the country, the Ninth Circuit, overturned a California bill that intended to shutdown the majority of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) holding facilities for illegal immigrants.
The Ninth Circuit, sitting en banc, determined that California’s AB 32, enacted in 2019 and intended to essentially shutter all Immigration detention centers throughout the sanctuary state, violates the Supremacy Clause by disobeying federal immigration regulations.
The law had previously been declared unconstitutional by a three-judge court, but the whole Ninth Circuit overturned that ruling, and all 11 judges heard the issue again. The court determined on Monday that AB 32 would grant California a veto against ICE’s power to hold illegal immigrants.
In a statement, Dale Wilcox of the Immigration Reform Statute Institute (IRLI) said, “We congratulate the full court for understanding that the intended effect of this law — to eliminate federal detention of aliens in California — is just what renders it illegal.”
“The California statute that tried to do precisely that has been repealed,” Wilcox said. “Under the Constitution, a state must not interfere with — much less nullify — federal immigration law enforcement, and we are happy with this development.”
Several sanctuary states, including New Jersey, Illinois, Washington, New York, and Maryland, attempted to enact statewide restrictions on ICE detention facilities last year after California. According to the most recent ruling, Washington, a state that is also a part of the Ninth Circuit, may not be able to compel ICE to shut down its detention centers. Additionally, the Ninth Circuit’s analysis may be adopted by the federal courts that oversee the other states.