Justice Department accuses California of interfering with immigration policies in new lawsuit

Last Updated Mar 6, 2018 10:27 PM EST

The Justice Department said Tuesday it plans to sue the state of California, Gov. Jerry Brown and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra for interfering with federal immigration activities. The lawsuit is targeting three state laws signed by Brown that limit the enforcement of federal immigration law.

The Justice Department is still reviewing other states for possible legal action, a senior official told CBS News. There are five other states considered to have so-called "sanctuary cities."

 Attorney General Jeff  Sessions will be in California's capital, Sacramento, on Thursday to make the announcement. He will be speaking at the annual gathering of the California Peace Officers' Association.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) wants to increase its presence in California, and Sessions has threatened to cut off federal funding to jurisdictions that won't cooperate.

Brown responded in a statement by calling the lawsuit a "political stunt."

"At a time of unprecedented political turmoil, Jeff Sessions has come to California to further divide and polarize America," Brown's statement said. "Jeff, these political stunts may be the norm in Washington, but they don't work here. SAD!!!"

California is home to some high-profile sanctuary cities, including San Francisco and Oakland.  

Last month, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf tipped off Bay Area residents of upcoming immigration raids, which ICE said helped 800 people avoid arrest.

The acting director of the Justice Department Thomas Homan said on "Fox & Friends" last week that they are considering charging Schaaf with obstruction of justice. A senior Justice Department official told CBS News on Tuesday there is no update if Schaaf will be charged.

Schaaf issued a statement Tuesday night saying "we will continue to inform all residents about their Constitutional rights, and we will continue to support California's sanctuary status."

CBS News' justice reporter Paula Reid contributed to this report.


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