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California Assembly Bill 32, signed by Governor Newsom in 2019, which phases out all private detention facilities within the state, is preempted by federal law and violates the intergovernmental immunity doctrine

California

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USA

The Federal Government’s Authority over Immigration Preempts California’s Attempt to Phase Out Private Detention Facilities In The GEO Grp. v. Newsom, 20-56172 (9th Cir. Oct. 5, 2021), the United States and GEO Group, Inc. appealed the district court’s order which denied their request for a preliminary injunction and granted the defendants’ motions to dismiss and for judgment on the pleadings.The appellants sought a preliminary injunction and argued that California Assembly Bill 32 (“AB 32”), which phases out all private detention facilities within the state, conflicts with federal law and violates the intergovernmental immunity doctrine.The United States Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit held that AB 32 was preempted by federal law, violated the doctrine of intergovernmental immunity and that the factors of the case favored granting the plaintiffs a preliminary injunction. The Court reversed the district court’s orders and remanded the case. Federal Law Preemption First, the Court of Appeal explained that the presumption against preemption did not apply because AB 32 went beyond exercising the state’s traditional powers, impeding the federal government’s immigration policy. Next, the Court explained that 8 U.S.C. § 1231(g) gives the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (Secretary) the authority to arrange for “appropriate” detention facilities and 6 U.S.C. § 112(b)(2) gives them the power to contract out detention operations as “necessary and proper.”Ultimately, the Court held that AB 32 was preempted by federal law because it conflicted with the Secretary’s power to contract with private detention facilities, and the federal government has sole authority over immigration. Intergovernmental Immunity The Court also found that AB 32 discriminated against the federal government and violated the doctrine of intergovernmental immunity because the intergovernmental immunity doctrine prohibits a state from regulating the United States directly or discriminating against the federal government. AB 32 discriminated against the federal government because it provided an exemption for large groups of state contractors but provided no comparable exemptions for the federal government. Preliminary Injunction Factors Favor Appellants The Court held that the factors for granting a preliminary injunction weighed in favor of the appellants because the appellants were likely to prevail on the merits and suffer irreparable harm. Additionally, AB 32 likely violated the U.S. Constitution and equity and the public interest supported granting the preliminary injunction.

April 14, 2022
The GEO Grp. v. Newsom, 20-56172 (9th Cir. Oct. 5, 2021)
California Courts