March 7, 2018

(Los Angeles, CA) - The U.S. Department of Justice sued California on Tuesday, challenging three state laws that address immigration overreach by federal officials. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions today sought to justify the lawsuit during a speech in Sacramento.

Please attribute the following statement on the Justice Department’s suit and Sessions’ speech to Thomas A. Saenz, president and general counsel of MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund):

“If the Sessions lawsuit challenging three California statutes protecting communities across the state means that the Trump Administration will cease its lawless, retaliatory raids that result in ICE arrests of peaceful immigrants with no history of criminal activity, then the filing could be a welcome development. However, if the suit is designed to provide some veneer of justification for retaliatory and discriminatory enforcement, then the case is an abject failure from its start.

The clearest threat to public safety in California today comes from these retaliatory immigration raids and the irresponsible rhetoric of Sessions, acting ICE director Thomas Hogan, and others in the administration sowing division by falsely depicting immigrants as criminals. Thugs who lie should have no place in leadership of the federal government.

Of course, the outcome of the case itself will be heavily affected by the fact that Jeff Sessions is one of the most legally incompetent attorneys general in our nation's entire history. That incompetence appeared loud and clear in his execrable speech in Sacramento this morning. Full of noxious dog whistles, half truths, and outright lies, the speech was an embarrassment to the legal profession. But, California is a resilient place. Sessions hate will find no hold in this state.”

Founded in 1968, MALDEF is the nation's leading Latino legal civil rights organization. Often described as the "Latino Legal Voice for Civil Rights in America" MALDEF promotes social change through advocacy, communications, community education, and litigation in the areas of education, employment, immigrant rights, and political access. For more information on MALDEF, please visit:

Copyright 2009 MALDEF — Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund