Attorney General Laxalt Files Friend of the Court Brief in the Ninth Circuit Supporting a Prohibition on Sanctuary City Policies for Public Safety Reasons

December 22, 2017

Carson City, NV – Today, Nevada Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt joined an 11 state coalition of attorneys general in filing a friend-of-the-court brief in the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit – a federal appeals court that has jurisdiction over Nevada. The brief urges the Court to reverse a U.S. District Court judge’s order preventing the implementation of the federal government’s executive order pertaining to sanctuary cities. The case is an opportunity to remedy the threat that California’s “sanctuary cities” pose to Nevada safety.

    Nevada’s law enforcement officials, including all 17 currently elected county sheriffs, have consistently opposed sanctuary-city policies that would prevent compliance with federal law and compromise public safety. Today, in the vast majority of cases, an individual must be arrested for committing a crime and booked into a jail or detention facility before Nevada law enforcement agencies check whether the individual is sought by federal immigration authorities and, if so, alert those federal authorities. Sanctuary-city policies that prohibit this communication allow violent offenders to be released back into the community.

      “It is common sense that dangerous felons should not be released into neighborhoods, and that law enforcement must work together for public safety,” said Laxalt. “Sanctuary cities in California pose a danger to neighboring states like Nevada by making it easier for those not lawfully in this country and with violent criminal histories to evade law enforcement and travel out of state. What’s more, these cities undermine the rule of law and prevent cooperation between federal and local officials.”

        On January 25, 2017, the president signed an executive order directing federal agencies to better enforce U.S. immigration laws by making local jurisdictions who “willfully refuse” to comply with federal immigration laws ineligible for federal grants, except as necessary for law enforcement. In February, the California cities of San Francisco and Richmond, and the California County of Santa Clara, brought a pre-enforcement challenge to the executive order. In April, a California federal district court preliminarily enjoined the federal order from taking effect. Nevada supports the federal government’s attempt to dissolve the injunction and allow federal immigration law to be properly enforced.

          The parties do not dispute that, as a constitutional matter, immigration policy is preeminently a subject of federal law and enforcement, and that withholding appropriate federal funds in response to local non-compliance is a valid exercise of federal power.

            In addition to Nevada, other participating states include: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Kansas, Louisiana, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and West Virginia.

              The filed brief is attached.