US Attorney General Jeff Sessions: Ready to fight California over pro-immigrant sanctuary laws

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KGO) -- California Gov. Jerry Brown denounced U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions for coming to the state to speak about a lawsuit targeting policies that limit cooperation with federal immigration authorities, saying Wednesday it was unprecedented for him to "act more like Fox News than a law enforcement officer."

Sessions said Wednesday he is ready to fight the state of California and bring an end to the state's pro-immigrant sanctuary laws.

Sessions is telling California, "We have a problem." He said politicians in California are putting law enforcement officers in danger just to score political points and specifically called out Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf who warned the community last weekend that an ICE raid was coming.

Sessions told law enforcement officers at a conference in Sacramento Wednesday that the Justice Department sued California because state laws are preventing federal immigration agents from doing their jobs.

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California leaders strongly deny that claim.

Sessions strongly criticized Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf for her recent unusual public warning that an operation by federal immigration officers was imminent. He claims 800 "wanted criminals" eluded arrests as a result.

"Here's my message to Mayor Schaaf -- how dare you, how dare you needlessly endanger the lives of our law enforcement officers to promote a radical open borders agenda," said Sessions.

RELATED: US attorney general to Oakland mayor: 'How dare you'

Sessions says California's laws are unconstitutional and a "plain violation of common sense."

Governor Jerry Brown and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra are named as defendants in the lawsuit. They reacted to the lawsuit and Sessions' speech Wednesday morning. "So the attorney general is coming out here, gives a speech for 10 minutes, then hightails it back to Washington. What does that do? That is not creating the comity that the state and federal government needs. This is a very aggressive act on the part of the Trump administration. And it's not right, it won't stand. And as I say, I'm sure this lawsuit has more longevity than the Trump administration itself," said Brown.

VIDEO: Gov. Brown calls on Jeff Sessions to apologize to people of California
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During a news conference with Attorney General Xavier Becerra, Governor Jerry Brown called on U.S. AG Jeff Sessions to apologize to the people of California, "What Jeff Sessions said is simply not true."

Brown said that Sessions was not being truthful and demanded an apology. "What Jeff Sessions said is simply not true. And I call upon him to apologize to the people of California, to bringing the mendacity of Washington to California. And trying to insert discord and division and I might add, dysfunctionality in a state that's really working. So let's build some bridges, not walls," said Brown.

State Senator Kevin de Leon, who helped write the sanctuary bill, says the law is on California's side. However, he fears what the lawsuit could do outside the courtroom. "This administration will not stop at anything to divide this country, and to pit one group against another group. My fear is that crime is going to increase because many immigrant families will be fearful of calling their local police departments," said de Leon.

RELATED: ICE confirms 232 arrests during operation in Northern California

Dozens of demonstrators have gathered outside the hotel in Sacramento. Demonstrators are outraged that the state is being sued and that the attorney general went there to announce it.
"I think it is a bully tactic. We aren't surprised, but we aren't going to stand here and let it happen. We are going to fight it," Demonstrator Margarita Berta-Avila said.

Demonstrators outside the hotel can be heard chanting "stand up, fight back" and "no justice no peace."

As of 11:45 a.m., Sacramento police said no arrests have been made near the hotel.

Click here to read the lawsuit filed by the Department of Justice.

Click here to read EXHIBIT A: Declaration of Thomas Homan, Deputy Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

And click here to read the DOJs proposed injunction.

Click here for more stories, videos and pictures on immigration.

The Associated Press has contributed to this report.
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