On March 29th, the city of Seattle announced that it was suing the Trump administration over its threat to withhold federal grants to “sanctuary cities,” or cities that do not coordinate with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) regarding illegal immigrants in the U.S.
In essence, these cities fail to enforce federal immigration law.
Citing the 10th Amendment that deals with states’ rights, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray (recently accused of “repeatedly and criminally raping and molesting” a teenage boy decades ago) fails to see that cities and states cannot flout federal immigration law. That cannot happen in a country that has borders and law and order. Still, Murray went on to claim that, “the Trump administration, their war on facts, has now become a war on cities.” Ratcheting up the rhetoric as usual, Murray made headlines not too long before this when he called Trump’s initial immigration travel ban on January 25th, “the darkest day in immigration history” since the internment of Japanese Americans.
Murray amazingly states that his city is not breaking any laws and is even “prioritizing safety.” Sanctuary cities like Seattle and San Francisco feel threatened by President Trump’s executive order signed in January that directed the federal government to ensure that jurisdictions that refuse to cooperate with ICE are not eligible to receive some federal grant money. There’s a new Sheriff in town.
Two days before Seattle came out with its suit, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the Justice Department would require these sanctuary cities seeking some $4.1 billion available in grant money to verify that they are in compliance with a section of federal law that allows information sharing with immigration officials.
California: The Sanctuary State
Before Seattle, the even more liberal and open border-committed San Francisco asked a federal judge to block President Trump’s order threatening to withhold federal funds. There are about 400 cities and counties that refuse to comply with federal immigration law and frequently let illegal immigrants back into society.
While states believe Trump is trampling on their sovereignty, he is actually well within his right to make sure the laws of the land are followed. And when large cities and counties across America are letting illegal immigrants, including many dangerous criminals, go without coordinating with ICE first is something that Trump has declared he will not stand for. The states and cities cannot have their own immigration laws -- that is a federal issue.
San Francisco’s suit says it stands to lose $1.2 billion in federal funds if they do not comply with the president’s order. If you want the cash you have to play by the rules, says the Trump administration, in stark contrast to the previous eight-year liberal administration.
And yet, the state of California would take things a step further last week when the Senate passed a bill on Tuesday, April 3rd that limited cooperation between local law enforcement and ICE. Essentially, California lawmakers are voting to become the country’s first sanctuary state. And in many ways, wherever California goes, the rest of the country will likely be soon to follow.
The bill passed 27-12 along party lines, with Democrats for and Republicans against. The contents of the bill prevents local jails from holding inmates for up to 48 hours extra when ICE requests it for transfer. Though they do make an exception for dangerous criminals, the bill prohibits state and local law enforcement from using any government resources for immigration enforcement without a warrant.
While California is moving quicker than any other state in the nation, other bills limiting cooperation with immigration officials have also been introduced in state legislatures such as Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, and New York.
Kevin de Leon, author of the California sanctuary state bill, also made sure it included a clause prohibiting local agencies from sharing important information or leasing jail space to immigration officials. The bill now heads to the Assembly, where the Democrats hold a large majority. Governor Jerry Brown would surely sign this bill into law to put a thumb in Trump’s eye.
County sheriffs across the state of California have expressed much criticism of this bill.
Let’s Have a Debate and Stop Yelling at Each Other
On Wednesday, March 29th, Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones came onto the morning radio show, Armstrong and Getty, to talk about enforcing the law in a sanctuary city. A libertarian-conservative political talk show for the most part, Jones came on to discuss with the hosts and detail to the country what it is like to be the top cop in a county that disregards federal immigration law.
His stance on sanctuary cities? “It's a horrible idea,” Jones began, pointing to the fact that violent criminals make up a good portion of his undocumented population, much of which resides in the capital city of California. The county of Sacramento has almost 1.5 million residents. Letting some of these criminals out of our jails and not coordinating with ICE will only make Jones’ job harder and his jurisdiction less safe for American citizens.
An example the Sheriff points to is when an undocumented man killed a cop in two counties on the same day. He is now in custody and facing the death penalty. But if this new sanctuary state bill is enacted into law, local police cannot alert ICE of that individual’s presence in jail.
Reasonable people agree we need to keep the illegal criminals within our borders off our streets and out of our country. Allowing California to move forward with this insane legislation will endanger many people in cities and counties across the country’s most populous state. How can my friends on the left be so blind to this fact? Ideology... but that line of thought is for another article for another time.
Sadly, the open borders crowd continues to play to people's fears as opposed to confronting reality. Not all illegal immigrants in the U.S. should fear Trump’s new strategy of enforcing federal law. ICE will prioritize going after the most dangerous criminals and others who have overstayed their visas. They will not be going into schools to round up children or go after law abiding, hard working families who are not all yet U.S. citizens.
Again, if the bill being pushed by the California Democrats becomes law, our streets will only become more chaotic. ICE would be kept out of the jails and forced into communities from San Diego to Sacramento -- not knowing who is where. By standing in opposition to federal immigration law, Democratic California lawmakers will therefore be forcing the very federal government sweeps into their towns and homes that many are actually fearing.
Instead, immigration remains a wedge issue for the right and the left. The left wants to open the borders and give social services to illegal immigrants because “we’re a nation of immigrants” while the right thinks the wall needs to be built yesterday and a majority of illegals are dangerous criminals who should be deported right away. If the liberals in this country want to change how immigration is enforced in this country, then propose a new federal law. Too bad they won’t do that. They simply don’t want the Trump administration to enforce the current law as it exists. Trump is not overstepping his bounds or going too far with his orders, he is merely doing what the chief executive is supposed to do: maintain law and order.
Amazing Trump needs to sign an order in the first place to instruct the rest of the country to follow the law.
Law and Order
One’s view of reality is skewed by what side of the aisle he or she currently sits on. We need to see things clearly and call things for how they really are. The borders are not secure and our immigration system is broken. First things first, we need to follow the laws as they are currently written.
Then, what we need to do is actually confront this issue head on. We need to decide who and what kind of people we want in this country. And what are we going to do with the 11 million or more who are already here illegally? Many want a path to citizenship. Many do not. That’s fine! Let’s debate these topics and stop yelling past each other.
Instead of cities and states flouting federal immigration law, we should debate the federal law first and see if it needs updating. Our lawmakers will not do this unless we force them to. They prefer to use immigration as a wedge issue to demonize the other side. They don’t want to fix anything. They want this unsolvable mess to continue in perpetuity so they can continue not putting their names to a vote and their cronies can keep benefiting from cheap labor.
Sanctuary cities are dangerous for citizens. They will attract floods of illegal immigrants as they already are and there will undoubtedly be dangerous ones among them. Failing to coordinate with ICE when you have illegal immigrants in custody is idiotic. These lawless jurisdictions cannot be allowed to continue and if they won’t get in line, then yank their funding. Trump is making a strong stand against these jurisdictions. Still, Seattle and California will fight the president head on until they lose in the courts.
These liberal utopias will lose this battle, as Trump has the Constitution on his side. He has the authority to enforce federal law (a federal issue) and to protect all American citizens of all fifty states. With immigration, we cannot have different laws with separate levels of enforcement from state to state and city to city. We need uniformity. We need law and order. We need Trump and Sessions to continue the fight against sanctuary cities to maintain the borders of the country and therefore, the culture of our people.
Let’s give the Trump administration the support it deserves in this battle.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
Linda Hosler on October 09, 2017:
Good informative article. I enjoyed reading it.