Attorney General Laxalt Files Friend of the Court Brief to Protect Nevada by Supporting Prohibition on Sanctuary City Policies

June 16, 2017

Carson City, NV – Today, Nevada Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt joined a 10 state coalition of attorneys general in filing a friend-of-the-court brief in the federal district court of San Francisco. The brief urges the court to dismiss a California-based challenge to the federal government’s January executive order pertaining to sanctuary cities. The case is an opportunity to remedy the threat that California’s “sanctuary cities” pose to Nevada safety.

    “Sanctuary cities in California endanger Nevadans, especially given their close proximity to us,” said Attorney General Laxalt. “In some cases these cities refuse federal requests to temporarily detain illegal aliens with violent criminal histories and instead release these felons into communities that—under federal law—they have no right to be in. Nevada’s Legislature, sheriffs and municipalities have wisely rejected such nonsensical policies, but Nevadans should not be the victims of such policies in other states. Opposition to this extreme form of a “sanctuary city” is pro-immigrant and pro-safety, as safety is a leading concern of our immigrant communities.”

      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, the court preliminarily enjoined the federal order from taking effect. Nevada supports the federal government’s motion 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.

          “So-called ‘sanctuary cities’ have no right—constitutional or otherwise— to enlist the courts in their attempt to subvert lawful federal immigration authority,” added Laxalt, “Especially when sanctuary policies create public-safety threats to neighboring states.”

            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.

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

                The filed brief is attached.