Just hours after the Justice Department filed a lawsuit against the state of California over three of its new immigration laws, Attorney General Jeff Sessions delivered a pointed message from the Trump Administration to California: We have a problem.
During a speech at an annual state law enforcement convention, Sessions condemned California's recently passed sanctuary laws, and announced a lawsuit challenging them.
"California, we have a problem. A series of actions and events has occurred here that directly and adversely impact the work of our federal officers," Sessions said.
The speech and lawsuit are just the latest shots in a fight that's been brewing between California and the Trump administration over immigration policies and the three laws passed by the state protecting illegal immigrants last year.
Sessions made it clear that the Justice Department believes California overstepped by passing laws that limit cooperation by local authorities with federal immigration agents. The Attorney General said the Constitution gave the administration province over immigration policies and that California should butt out.
"Immigration law is the province of the federal government, it's in the Constitution. This administration and this Justice Department are determined to make it work effectively for all our people."
Meanwhile, California Governor Jerry Brown was joined by State Attorney General Xavier Becerra at a press conference, just a few blocks away from Sessions where Brown blasted the lawsuit, calling it a "political stunt."
"Now, the federal government ought to do its job and not blame California for its own inability to solve the problem, whether it's of crime, or whether it's of immigration," Brown said.
The governor went on to say that Sessions was acting "more like Fox News than as a political officer," and that the Attorney General was lying to the American people about the state's sanctuary laws.
"And like so many in the Trump administration, this Attorney General has no regard for the truth. What he said earlier today is not true. It is a lie," Brown said.
Brown said the state's sanctuary laws are constitutional and this was a time for Americans to come and be united.
"It's not about protecting our state, it's about dividing America. This is a time to build bridges, not walls. To pull Americans together, not set us apart."
Sessions said that the United States deserves a lawful immigration system that serves the national interest.
"Such a country as ours, must have a lawful system of immigration and let no one contend that we reject immigration and want to wall off America from all immigrants ... A lawful immigration system that serves the national interest helps us achieve these goals, and more benefits for America."