9th Circuit Court strikes down California law that would have forced ICE to move migrant detainees to other states

News & Politics

A panel of judges on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) that would have forced Immigration and Customs Enforcement to move their migrant detainees to other states.

Newsom signed bill AB32 into law in 2019 that outlawed for-profit prisons, but that would have banned detainment centers used by ICE. It was the first such ban in the country.

ICE and the private contractors who ran the centers sued in federal court and won their case on Monday. The 9th Circuit ruled against California and found that the law violated the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution because it was allowing the state to usurp powers delegated to the federal government.

“AB 32 would give California the power to control ICE’s immigration detention operations in the state by preventing ICE from hiring the personnel of its choice,” said the ruling of the court. “AB 32 would breach the core promise of the Supremacy Clause.”

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Immigrants rights advocates were angered by the decision. Attorney Jehan Laner of the Immigrant Legal Resource Center told KPBS-TV that the court mischaracterized what the law ordered.

“It doesn’t direct the federal government to do anything,” Laner said. “The federal government can still detain people here in California if it wishes to, it just can’t use these for-profit detention centers in California.”

Laner also blamed the Biden administration for promising to end for-profit prisons during the 2020 presidential election campaign but not following through.

Dan McLaughlin of National Review noted that the en banc panel of the 9th Circuit which ruled against California was tilted in favor of Democratic appointees.

The state of California could ask the U.S. Supreme Court to take up the case next.

Here’s more about the court decision:

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Appeals court blocks California ban on for-profit prisons


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