Attorney General Jeff Sessions
Photo: Toya Sarno Jordan (Getty Images)

The U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit Tuesday evening against the state of California, its governor and its attorney general over “sanctuary” laws it alleges violate the Constitution and are friendly to undocumented immigrants.

The federal government filed its case just after 9 p.m. EST in the state capital of Sacramento. According to the Washington Post, the complaint claims that three immigration-related laws passed in the state last year obstruct enforcement of federal immigration law and harm public safety.

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One of the laws prohibits private employers from voluntarily cooperating with federal immigration officials. It also requires them to give their employees advance notice if a federal raid is happening.

The second law prevents state and local law enforcement from voluntarily giving release-date information on undocumented people being held in custody to federal immigration officials. Undocumented people are also barred from being transferred into federal custody.

The third law relates to state inspections of detention centers that house noncitizens in federal custody.

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Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, responded to the lawsuit Tuesday night by pinning the following tweet to his Twitter profile: “At a time of unprecedented political turmoil, Jeff Sessions has come to California to further divide and polarize America. Jeff, these political stunts may be the norm in Washington, but they don’t work here. SAD!!!”

State Attorney General Xavier Becerra, a Democrat, told the Post Tuesday night that while he still had to examine what the Justice Department had filed, he felt that the state was abiding by the Constitution and cooperating with its federal partners to foster public safety.

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“States and local jurisdictions have the right to determine which policies are best for their communities,” Becerra said.