President Donald Trump has ramped up undocumented immigrant deportations as part of a campaign promise.
"This is a reminder that California does not see his federal policies", said Steven Lynn, 33, a Sacramento graduate student.
Warning that California's liberal politicians were endangering the state's citizens and obstructing federal law, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced on Wednesday that the Trump administration was suing the state over laws created to make it more hard for federal immigration agents to operate there.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra vowed to enforce the state's laws and protect Californians.
At the annual conference organized by the California Peace Officers' Association in downtown Sacramento, not far from the Capitol building.
This week's lawsuit is just the latest in a running battle over sanctuary policies.
"We are doing what we believe is best to make sure the people of California are safe", he said. Last year, 17 percent of ICE's 34,606 arrests in California were carried out "at large".
State officials seem to welcome the ongoing legal fight.
Police also worry that the law is too light on illegal immigrants who have been arrested for drunk driving. The list goes on.
The attorney general singled out Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, who recently warned of an impending immigration raid in her city.
"What changed for me was the knowledge that there are two dozen witnesses that Michael Horowitz, the [DOJ] Inspector General, would not have access to", Gowdy said on FNC.
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Of the illegal immigrants apprehended nationwide in 2016, 2017 and thus far in 2018, 92, 90 and 87 percent, respectively, had criminal records, the Justice Department said.
Sessions was more direct on Wednesday.
On Tuesday night, Justice Department transferred to press that complaint is based on unconstitutionality of three laws, all passed past year. Sessions was expected to announce on Wednesday the lawsuit during a meeting with law enforcement officials in California.
California is home to the largest number of undocumented immigrants, almost one-quarter of the estimated 11 million in total across the United States.
California is among the coastal states fighting the administration's plan to selectively increase offshore oil drilling.
Gov. Jerry Brown has staunchly defended Senate Bill 54, which would extend certain protections for immigrants statewide, as being well within California's rights.
California officials remain defiant and say they are on firm legal footing. The federal lawsuit seeks to undo a series of "sanctuary state" bills the state is trying to pass.
A lot of this might be natural differences of opinion between a President who was put in office by a coalition of states that did not touch the West Coast.
The administration is arguing the laws are unconstitutional and said it may also sue other states that have similar laws.
The backlash from leading Democratic lawmakers in the state has been swift and united.
"I say, bring it on", said California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon told the AP news agency. "This is basically going to war against the state of California - the engine of the america economy".