This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, January 27, 2017:
The mayor of Miami-Dade County, Florida, Carlos Gimenez, ordered his prison director “to honor all immigration detainer requests received from the Department of Homeland Security” on Thursday, following President Donald Trump’s executive order. He added: “Miami-Dade County complies with federal law and intends to fully cooperate with the federal government.” (See protesters above)
This was music to Trump’s ears, who immediately tweeted “Miami-Dade Mayor drops sanctuary policy. Right decision. Strong!”
Miami-Dade never had an official “sanctuary city” position: It just wouldn’t detain illegals wanted by federal immigration officials because they wouldn’t fully reimburse the county for the costs, estimated at $52,000, to keep them locked up. Last year the county declined to hold some 100 inmates wanted by the feds.
But it made sense not to threaten the flow of federal funds, said Gimenez:
I want to make sure we don’t put in jeopardy the [estimated $355 million] of funds we get from the federal government [over] a $52,000 issue. It doesn’t mean that we’re going to be arresting more people [and] it doesn’t mean that we’re going to be enforcing any [federal] immigration laws.
Gimenez’s order was followed shortly thereafter by Louisiana’s Attorney General Jeff Landry. who said:
I fully support the president in withholding federal funding from cities who engage in sanctuary city policies. Sanctuary city policies are dangerous to citizens who are lawfully in this country.
Unfortunately Landry didn’t speak for New Orleans, whose police department began a new policy a year ago to “no longer cooperate with federal immigration enforcement.”
That department isn’t alone in pushing back against Trump’s order, though it was hoped that Trump’s three-stage order might invite more sanctuary jurisdictions to reconsider and get on board with the enhanced federal enforcement efforts. In the first stage, Trump ordered his Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary John Kelly to put out a weekly “name and shame” list of all criminal actions committed by illegals in those sanctuary cities. Is is a strategy of provoking embarrassment and anger. The hope is that it will bring pressure from outraged citizens on their elected or appointed representatives to rescind the policy.
If that didn’t work, stage two would kick in: “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 fails to persuade politicians to reverse their policies, then the big hammer would drop: no more federal funds for you! From Trump’s executive order: “In furtherance of this policy, the Attorney General and the Secretary [of the DHS], 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.”
That is a big hammer. Reuters analyzed federal data and concluded that the amount of funds “at risk” totals $2.27 billion just for the nation’s 10 largest county and city governments. New York City has more than $700 million at risk, with Chicago not far behind at $526 million. Los Angeles is next with $466 million in jeopardy. Others with substantial sums at stake include Philadelphia ($200 million), Detroit ($105 million), Seattle ($73 million), San Francisco ($91 million), Boston ($66 million), Denver ($39 million), and Washington, D.C. ($20 million).
New York City’s Mayor Bill de Blasio apparently doesn’t care. In December he threatened to destroy all of the records of his city’s estimated 500,000 illegal aliens to keep the feds from getting their hands on them. National Review called the move “a scandalous attempt on the part of the city’s government to protect undocumented immigrants from federal law at the expense of public safety and state law.” When de Blasio learned of Trump’s executive order, he doubled down: “If an attempt is made [to shut off those funds], we will go to court immediately for an injunction to stop it.” Added de Blasio:
The stroke of a pen in Washington D.C. does not change the people of New York City or our values. It does not change how this city government protects its people and it will not change how we enforce the law in New York City or how we do business on behalf of the people — all 8.5 million New Yorkers.
New York state Attorney General is backing de Blasio:
The President lacks the constitutional authority to cut off funding to states and cities simply because they [those states and cities] have lawfully acted to protect immigrant families. Local governments seeking to protect their immigrant communities from federal overreach have every right to do so.
Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel was blunt: “We’re going to stay a sanctuary city. Wherever you came from, you’re welcome here.”
Boston’s Mayor Marty Walsh also pushed back, stating, “We will not be intimidated by the threat to federal funding,” as did California’s Attorney General Xavier Becerra. Becerra said that executive orders from the White House cannot override state laws: “These are rights and protections which have survived numerous legal challenges over time. And they are grounded on our federal and state constitutions, not on an executive pronouncement.”
Similar sentiments were expressed by San Francisco’s Mayor Ed Murray: “We will not be intimidated by the authoritarian message coming from this administration.” Washington, D.C.’s Mayor Muriel Bowser said, despite Trump’s executive order, her district would remain a “sanctuary city.”
A partial listing of those jurisdictions considered “sanctuary cities” includes South Tucson, Arizona (which does not honor ICE detainer requests), and a dozen California cities that have some type of formally expressed “sanctuary city policy,” including San Francisco. The “City by the Bay” first declared itself a sanctuary city back in 1989 and then expanded on that pronouncement in 2013 with its “Due Process for All” ordinance declaring that local authorities could not hold illegal immigrants as long as they had no violent felonies on their records and did not currently face criminal charges.
New Haven, Connecticut, became a sanctuary city in 2007 followed by Hartford in 2008. Rahm Emanuel’s Chicago became a “de jure” sanctuary city in 2012 when he and his city council passed its “Welcoming City” ordinance. That ordinance states that Chicago police officers cannot arrest individuals on the basis of immigration status alone.
Portland, Maine, is included because its “city employees are prohibited from asking about the immigration status of people seeking city services unless [they are] compelled [to do so] by a court.”
Massachusetts’s Boston, Cambridge, Chelsea, Somerville, Orleans, Northampton, and Springfield have similar ordinances barring their police departments from detaining anyone based on their immigration status unless they have a criminal warrant outstanding.
Oregon goes the furthest with its state law which “prohibits law enforcement officers at the state, county or municipal level from enforcing federal immigration laws that target people based on their race or ethnic origin, when those individuals are not suspected of any criminal activities.”
Put altogether then, this means that Trump’s brand new DHS secretary and attorney general are going to be very busy working to fulfill one of his major campaign promises.