Justice Dept. suing California over sanctuary laws, Gov. Brown calls it a 'political stunt'

PHOTO: Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks during a news conference at the Justice Department, Nov. 29, 2017, in Washington, DC. PlayAlex Wong/Getty Images
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California Gov. Jerry Brown has slammed the Trump administration's latest salvo against the Golden State -- the Justice Department announced Tuesday night it is suing to block state laws that extend protections to people living in the U.S. illegally -- claiming it's a move that will "further divide and polarize America."

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"At a time of unprecedented political turmoil, Jeff Sessions has come to California to further divide and polarize America," the Democratic lawmaker tweeted.

Then, in a direct shout-out to the attorney general, Brown wrote, "Jeff, these political stunts may be the norm in Washington, but they don’t work here. SAD!!!"

The defendants named in the lawsuit are the state of California, Gov. Jerry Brown and Attorney General Xavier Becerra.

PHOTO: California Gov. Jerry Brown, talks during a discussion at the Americas Pledge launch event at the U.S. We Are Still In pavilion at the COP 23 United Nations Climate Change Conference, Nov. 11, 2017 in Bonn, Germany. Lukas Schulze/Getty Images
California Gov. Jerry Brown, talks during a discussion at the America's Pledge launch event at the U.S. "We Are Still In" pavilion at the COP 23 United Nations Climate Change Conference, Nov. 11, 2017 in Bonn, Germany.
PHOTO: Xavier Becerra speaks during the House Democrats news conference, May 11, 2016, to discuss Donald Trump?s visit to Capitol Hill. Bill Clark/CQ Roll Cal/AP Photo
Xavier Becerra speaks during the House Democrats news conference, May 11, 2016, to discuss Donald Trump?'s visit to Capitol Hill.

Justice Department officials said Tuesday that three state laws, which in part bar police from asking people about their citizenship status or participating in federal immigration enforcement activities, are unconstitutional. The Justice Department claimed that these laws prevent federal agents from doing their jobs.

California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, a Democrat who wrote the sanctuary state bill, tweeted, "Our nation’s Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions is suing CA because we refuse to help the Trump administration tear apart honest, hardworking immigrant families. To that, I say BRING IT ON! CA will not be intimidiated."

De Leon continued, "If Sessions is serious about cracking down on crime, he should stop fretting about CA and look in his own backyard. 2016 FBI stats show crime is far higher in his home state of Alabama than in California.

PHOTO: State Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de Leon urges lawmakers to approve his gun control bill SB1235, May 19, 2016, in Sacramento, Calif. Rich Pedroncelli/AP Photo
State Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de Leon urges lawmakers to approve his gun control bill SB1235, May 19, 2016, in Sacramento, Calif.

De Leon also described the lawsuit as a "racist and xenophobic attack," writing, "If Sessions is serious about cracking down on crime, he should stop fretting about CA and look in his own backyard. 2016 FBI stats show crime is far higher in his home state of Alabama than in California."

And in a final tweet Tuesday night, de Leon wrote, "Bottom line: California will NOT help President Trump, Jeff Sessions or Thomas Homan rip children from the arms of their mothers and fathers. Here in CA, we embrace our historic diversity, and we will do everything in our legal power to protect it."

Sessions is expected to announce the lawsuit Wednesday at an annual gathering of law enforcement officers in the state capital of Sacramento.

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