AG Jeff Sessions' announcement to sue California over 'Sanctuary' laws shakes up Valley immigrants

"As an immigrant it makes me scared" says one Fresno Dreamer

Fresno, Calif - Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Wednesday in Sacramento that the Department of Justice is suing the state over its immigration laws that shield undocumented immigrants living in the country illegally.

His message did not sit well with immigrants in the Central Valley.

Giselle Gasca, Dreamer and regional coordinator for Mi Familia Vota, says she's afraid of what could come out of this legal clash of the titans.

Although Gasca is concerned about this attack on her community from the federal government, Chairman of the Fresno County Republican Party says he too is concerned, concerned that the state has gone too far to protect people who do not belong in the country.
"This is anarchy," says Vanderhoof. "Never has this been done before in the history of California."

Vanderhoof says when city officials start to interfere with Immigration Customs Enforcement raids to help undocumented criminals, things have gotten out of hand.

"The Oakland Mayor tips them off and says ICE is coming so get out of town. And they did," says Vanderhoof.

Vandherhoof is referring to Oakland Mayor Libby Schaff tweeting that ICE raids were about to take place in the Bay Area back on Feb. 27. 

Critics say the tip allowed hundreds of criminals to escape capture.

Vanderhoof hopes Sessions announcement sends a message to California lawmakers to protect citizens, not undocumented criminals.

Gasca says her community needs immigration reform, not a lawsuit from the DOJ.

"As an immigrant it makes me scared," says Gasca. 

Gasca says since President Trump took office the attack against people like her has continued to get worse.

"My family and members of my community are going to work not knowing if they are going to come back or not," says Gasca.

The activist says Sessions push to sue California isn't an attack on undocumented criminals, but the entire community.

"This is not a matter of about targeting certain immigrants, that is what they are using to target all of our immigrant families," says Gasca.

Gasca says recent raids by ICE and increased enforcement continues to tear apart families.

James Schwab, public affairs officer for the San Francisco branch of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which covers the area from Bakersfield to the Oregon border, says ICE has arrested 1,710 people from October to December.

Data provided by Schwab shows that 1,337 were criminals and 373 were non-criminals.

Schwab says the numbers for January to March will not be released until April.

Immigration Attorney Camille Cook says federal law is superior to state law.

Cook says if she could give any advice to undocumented immigrants it would be to remember you still have rights.

"The U.S. Constitution is clear: You do not have to answer their questions. Remain silent," says Cook.  

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