California sets rules for cooperating with feds on immigration

The California Department of Justice issued new guidelines Wednesday that sought to clarify the extent to which state and local law enforcement agencies may cooperate with federal immigration officials.

The 10-page guideline document states that information regarding illegal immigrants can and should be shared with the federal Department of Homeland Security, the Washington Post reported.

California’s Senate Bill 54, implemented earlier this year, effectively legalized non-cooperation between state law enforcement agencies and federal immigration officials. In early March, the Trump administration filed a lawsuit against California, challenging SB54.

Salvador G. Sarmiento, center, speaks during an Immigrant advocates rally outside the Orange County Board of Supervisors' meeting room in Santa Ana, Calif., Tuesday, March 27, 2018, to protest a proposal to join a U.S. government lawsuit against California over the state's so-called sanctuary law. (AP Photo/Amy Taxin)

Immigration advocates rally outside a meeting of the Orange County Board of Supervisors, in Santa Ana, Calif., March 27, 2018.  (Associated Press)

State Sen. Kevin de Leon said the new guidelines should remedy criticisms of SB54 and insisted that it offers “further evidence that SB54 is consistent with federal law.”

President Donald Trump, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and other members of the Trump administration have criticized California's attitude toward enforcement of federal immigration laws. The state has been the site of several immigration sweeps in recent months, targeting illegal immigrants and businesses that employ them.

Under the new guidelines, police and sheriff’s departments are prohibited from inquiring about a person’s immigration status, but are permitted to share information regarding an immigrant’s legal status when they have information, the Washington Times reported.

The new guidelines further state that state and local cops may assist federal immigration officials as long as state law is being enforced.

But cooperation between federal immigration authorities and state and local law enforcement is still mostly discouraged -- including joint task forces as well as identifying and ousting illegal immigrants. 

Bradford Betz is an editor for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @bradford_betz.