Arkansas is among a coalition of Republican-led states that has filed an amicus brief inU.S. district court in support of striking down three immigration-related California laws, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced Monday.

The brief, led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, takes the side of the federal government in its recently filed lawsuit against California, which created several statutes in 2017 aimed at countering the Trump administration’s aggressive approach to deportations and detentions. Among other things, the California laws restrict private employers from giving certain information to federal immigration officers and place limitations on when local law enforcement may transfer detained individuals to federal custody.


The U.S. Justice Department has said California is unconstitutionally usurping federal authority on immigration enforcement.

In a press release Monday, Rutledge embraced Trump’s alarmist language on the dangers of immigrants, saying “California’s radical policies place all Arkansans and Americans in danger.”


“These policies provide safe havens for criminals and allow dangerous activities to spill into otherwise safe neighborhoods both near and far from California’s borders. Our country is built upon the rule of law and politicians cannot be allowed to unleash unconstitutional chaos by selectively choosing which laws fit their radical agendas and are worthy of being enforced,” she stated.

The brief itself is more measured. It draws upon a 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down certain Arizona laws which created a more punitive legal regime for immigrants in that state. In Arizona v. United States, the court said the states must abide by federal policy as established by Congress in regards to immigration matters.


“If various Arizona laws designed to enforce federal immigration law were preempted in [Arizona v. United States] … then California’s laws designed to interfere with or block federal immigration enforcement are equally preempted,” the brief states.

In the 2010 Arizona case, California jumped in with an amicus brief of its own — on the side of the Obama administration, an irony noted in the Republican-led states Monday filing:

With a new presidential administration, however, California has changed its tune. While California no longer agrees with the level of federal enforcement of immigration laws, the preemption principles California advanced in Arizona were adopted by the Supreme Court.