Attorney General Jeff Sessions to Visit Sacramento, Make Lawsuit Announcement

SACRAMENTO -- U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions will be in Sacramento on Wednesday to announce a lawsuit against California over sanctuary city laws.

Sessions' announcement is part of the annual Law Enforcement Legislative Day hosted by the California Peace Officers' Association.

Sessions is expected to speak at 8:05 a.m. at the Sawyer Hotel in Downtown Sacramento. According to the CPOA's webpage about Legislative Day events, the event at the Sawyer is full.

Former Sacramento County Sheriff John McGuinness, who will be emceeing the event, hopes Sessions will clarify the conflict between local and state versus federal law regarding immigrants in the country illegally.

"It's an untenable situation for law enforcement certainly, but it doesn't stop with law enforcement," he said. "Many people in business as well are getting conflicting information from the state and the federal government. People who want to comply with the law can find themselves in a position really questioning, 'What is it that I should do?'"

Sessions is a frequent critic of California's so-called "sanctuary state" policies and often threatens to deny federal crime-fighting resources to jurisdictions that don't cooperate with federal immigration agents. Sessions' suit claims that California laws prohibiting police from asking a person's immigration status and barring officers from helping with deportations make the state unsafe.

It's an argument former congressman and recent Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Ose says California just can't win.

"I know how this is going to work out. The federal law is going to be ruled the law and the state laws are going to be canceled," Ose said. "You know we've seen this before, the most glaring example is the Civil War. The south tried to nullify federal laws and that didn't work out very well."

Others believe a commitment to human dignity and a moral view of care for one's neighbor, no matter where they're from, should win out.

The golden state sued the federal government back in August, claiming attempts to deny federal funding to sanctuary states improperly cut into Congress' decision making power.

Those fully in favor of the state's sanctuary status and firmly against Sacramento county's current cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement detentions were even more dismayed to learn that Sessions is suing over protections put in place to help people in the country illegally.

"The immigration issue for me is the most reminiscent of the actual Nazis in 1930 when they were going after people, deporting people and separating families," said Phillip Kim.

Kim works with the Wellstone Progressive Democrats of Sacramento and The Resistance: Sacramento/Elk Grove.

The message the Sacramento Immigration Coalition wants to send Sessions?

"We want him to recognize our humanity, our collective humanity as people," said Carlos Montes-Ponce.

For Ose, the way forward has nothing to do with such recognition.

"This is day one of year one of law school, when you take con law," he said. "This is day one where you talk about it. Darrell (Steinberg) knows it, Kevin de Leon knows it, Jerry Brown knows it."

Ahead of Sessions' visit, hundreds of activists are getting ready to demonstrate in front of the hotel. On Tuesday afternoon, a group was already demonstrating against the ICE raids, which have occurred across Northern California in the past few weeks.

"The only thing that we had to do when we heard the news was make a phone call," said Pablo Reyes-Morales, a volunteer with NorCal Resist. "But our primary message is not to Jeff Sessions, it's to our communities to make sure they know there's no reason to be afraid."

Reyes-Morales feels Sessions' message will not be what the people of California will want to hear.

"Jeff Sessions, if he happens to sneak a peek out the window, then he knows he's not welcome in California," he said.

Mayor Darrell Steinberg is encouraging people to peacefully protest and tweeted a message for his city ahead of the event.

Steinberg is currently in Washington D.C. and will not be back in time for Sessions' visit. He didn't find out Sessions was coming to his city until today. The mayor spoke to FOX40 through Facetime from Washington D.C.

"Nothing that he says or does or no lawsuit is going to change what we do or who we are," Steinberg said.

Steinberg said this is a legal battle he and other mayors across the state are willing to endure.