This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, January 26, 2017:
In his Executive Order “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States” issued on Wednesday, President Donald Trump directed his Secretary of Homeland Security, John Kelly, on a weekly basis, to “make public a comprehensive list of criminal actions committed by aliens and any jurisdiction that ignored or otherwise failed to honor any detainers with respect to such aliens.”
At the moment such jurisdictions include nearly 300 so-called sanctuary cities harboring more than 2,000 known criminals residing illegally in the United States. The Washington Times called the move “Name and Shame” while Breitbart News is hopeful thatthe resulting embarrassment is sufficient to force recalcitrant local and state politicians to stop obstructing immigration officials from enforcing federal immigration laws.
Katie McHugh, writing for Breitbart, hopes that embarrassment, anger and political pressure will be enough: “Local residents may be outraged when they learn that the gang member, drug trafficker, or the drunk driver who ruined lives is an illegal alien. It lets resistance movements to entrenched political establishments bloom across the country, and will force politicians to be responsive.”
She reminded her readers of the unnecessary and painful deaths of Kate Steinle and Sarah Root. Steinle was shot and killed in 2015 by Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez (shown), an illegal immigrant from Mexico who had previously been deported five times. Root was killed when a car driven at high speed by Eswin Mejia, an illegal immigrant from Honduras under the influence of alcohol, struck her vehicle while she was waiting at a light in Omaha last January. Charged with vehicular homicide, Mejia was released on $50,000 bail and subsequently disappeared.
Anger may not be enough and so Trump’s EO raised the stakes: “The Secretary [of Homeland Security] has the authority to designate, in his discretion and to the extent consistent with law, a jurisdiction as a sanctuary jurisdiction. The Attorney General shall take appropriate enforcement action against any entity that violates [federal information sharing statutes] or which has in effect a statute, policy, or practice that prevents or hinders the enforcement of Federal law.”
If that isn’t enough, Trump can play his most powerful hand, which is eliminating federal funding to those jurisdictions: “In furtherance of this policy, the Attorney General and the Secretary, in their discretion and to the extent consistent with law, shall ensure that jurisdictions that willfully refuse to comply … are not eligible to receive Federal grants.”
In his EO, Trump made his case for ordering these measures:
Many aliens who illegally enter the United States and those who overstay or otherwise violate the terms of their visas present a significant threat to national security and public safety. This is particularly so for aliens who engage in criminal conduct in the United States.
Sanctuary jurisdictions across the United States willfully violate Federal law in an attempt to shield aliens from removal from the United States. These jurisdictions have caused immeasurable harm to the American people and to the very fabric of our Republic.
Trump ripped former President Barack Obama and his administration:
Although Federal immigration law provides a framework for Federal-State partnerships in enforcing our immigration laws to ensure the removal of aliens who have no right to be in the United States, the Federal Government [under Obama] has failed to discharge this basic sovereign responsibility. We cannot faithfully execute the immigration laws of the United States if we exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement. The purpose of this order is to direct executive departments and agencies to employ all lawful means to enforce the immigration laws of the United States.
That means that “jurisdictions that fail to comply with applicable Federal law do not receive federal funds” and that “aliens ordered removed from the United States are promptly removed.” That means that Kelly “is authorized under the law to assess and collect from aliens unlawfully present in the United States … all fines and penalties that the Secretary is authorized under the law to assess.” And that applies not only to those violating immigration laws, but their enablers as well, including colleges, universities, businesses and family and friends. Those penalties are severe: fines of up to $10,000 and or jail time for those found conspiring to harbor an illegal alien, and fines of more than $20,000 per illegal alien for entities that are repeat offenders.
The EO authorizes the hiring of 10,000 additional ICE officers and reminds the agencies involved in enforcement that the Privacy Act that has shielded many illegal aliens no longer applies.
And, finally, Trump wants reports on their progress in enforcing the order in 90 days and a follow-up report 90 days later.
The “name and shame” program aimed at sanctuary cities might cause some of them to reconsider their stands. Pressure from enraged citizens learning for the first time the pain and suffering wrought by criminal illegal aliens might help. The drying up of federal funds could also prove persuasive.
But the real hammer, and the real test, will be when the Secretary and or the Attorney General decide to take on the staunchest resistors in New York and San Francisco. Then citizens will learn about President Trump’s dedication to keeping his campaign promises.