Justice Department's lawsuit against California claims three state laws unconstitutional

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The three state laws under attack in part bar state and local authorities from enforcing federal immigration law.

State Attorney General Xavier Becerra says California is in the business of public safety and not in the business of deportation.

"All people deserve humane treatment and they deserve due process under the laws and constitution of the United States," said Becerra.

We talked to a retired federal court judge, Oliver Wanger about the federal lawsuit.

"We will see whether California has any exceptions or any legal justification to do what they're doing. But this concept, a political concept of sanctuary, to be blunt, is not lawful," said Wanger.

It is a politically charged battle outside the courtroom but a clearer picture emerges inside.

Wanger says the immigration policy case comes down to whether federal law pre-empts state law.

"The law is clear that the federal law cannot be interfered with, obstructed, nor defeated by states actions," said Wanger.

Still, Wanger admits the case is difficult to predict. He believes the federal lawsuit against California will ultimately be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.
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