Amid unprecedented attacks on immigrants and people of color playing out on the nation’s streets, borders and hospitals, the Supreme Court ruled to uphold LGBTQ dignity and left in place California Sanctuary laws that limit local police cooperation with immigration enforcers. The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA) welcomes both decisions as a respite from the siege.

“Today, we see why it is important to stay in the struggle,” said Angelica Salas, CHIRLA executive director. “Even in these times of hatred division and extremism, the Supreme Court can still speak for basic justice, precedent, and sober principle. We hope for the same standard when the court rules in the matter of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).”

In a 6-3 decision written by Neil Gorsuch, one of the court’s newest justices, the Supreme Court affirmed the workplace rights of LGBTQ people, saying they are also covered by civil rights statutes against sex discrimination: they cannot be fired because of their sexual identity or orientation.

The court also rebuffed a challenge by the Trump administration to three so-called sanctuary laws in California, leaving in place a Ninth Circuit decision that declared these laws did not obstruct federal agents. The laws include SB54, which considerably limits how local police departments work with federal agents enforcing immigration law.

“This is a victory for our state and a reminder that California can lead when it comes to protecting immigrants,” Joseph Villela, CHIRLA policy director said. “These laws affirm that immigrants are an essential part of our state and our nation.

“In defending SB54, the state relied in part on a decision by the late conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia dictating that the government cannot command state or local officials to carry out a federal law. That is exactly what SB54 seeks to avoid.

“At a time when the people of this nation question and protest the treatment meted out by police on people of color, we see this statute as keeping both federal and local enforcers in their lanes.”

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