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Trump administration asks appeals court to block'sanctuary city' law in Arizona
(CNN) -- The Trump administration asked a federal appeals court on Tuesday to block Arizona from enforcing a new law targeting sanctuary cities in the state.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions, in a filing to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, argued that the law is unconstitutional because the federal government could not be compelled to cooperate with local officials.
He claimed that if the law were to be implemented, it would undermine the federal government's ability to apprehend people wanted by the federal government.
"The President and all federal law enforcement agencies are under a federal duty to execute federal law, and this duty applies to sanctuary jurisdictions in particular because of the deeply troubling effects of sanctuary policies on public safety," Sessions wrote.
Sessions cited a 1996 Supreme Court decision as authority for his argument, which the court has previously relied on in some contexts.
The filing came in a case that was initiated by the Trump administration itself. Sessions had brought the case to court after the Justice Department took the unusual step of filing a lawsuit to block an Arizona law from taking effect in January.
Shortly after Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed the "show me your papers" law in September, the Justice Department challenged it in court, saying the federal government has the power to prosecute and detain individuals without a warrant. A federal judge in Arizona blocked the law from taking effect, saying it was preempted by federal law.
Shortly after the ruling, the Justice Department had started looking for states and cities with "sanctuary" policies. The department has cited several examples of cities and counties in Texas, California, Illinois and elsewhere that it said have such policies.
On Monday, the Justice Department notified Ducey's office that it was changing its position and would no longer object to the law becoming law.
Sessions also contended that the law violated the principle of federalism, and cited a 1980 Supreme Court decision to argue that states have no right to force federal law enforcement officials to act in a way that Congress did not intend.
"The'sanctuary' jurisdictions that refuse to help enforce federal law have caused 0b46394aab