I have talked about sanctuary cities before, but I just wanted to expand on my ideas and solidify my viewpoint.
As you may know, the federal government is threatening cities that do not cooperate with Homeland Security with the loss of federal grant money. And now the city of Seattle is suing the feds over that. The first of many lawsuits, I believe. The basic problem is that cities like Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco do not want to hold illegal aliens they’ve arrested until ICE can pick them up. Those cities want to release the aliens on bail or their own recognizance.
I believe that is dangerous and irresponsible. If there is a detainer request on someone who should not be in this country, that request should be honored. The sanctuary city people say they will obey a warrant for an illegal alien. But that is a much more complicated process. Immigration agents have to go to a federal judge and present evidence before a warrant will be signed. Takes much more time than a detainer, which just requires the signature of an ICE agent.
Now, why is all this happening?
In a city like New York, the mayor is a far left individual who was elected by very liberal voters. Mayor de Blasio sees himself as a defender of the poor and downtrodden. He opposes immigration regulations in general and is fine with millions of undocumented people living in and visiting this city. De Blasio has absolutely no problem with that. So the mind set of de Blasio, Rahm Emanuel in Chicago and other far left mayors is that their constituency wants open borders and amnesty. So they play to that constituency.
Enter the federal government, which now wants to enforce immigration law because President Trump made that a hallmark of his campaign. And so you have two opposing forces with little chance of reconciliation.
It should be noted that the federal appeals courts have never required local governments to comply with detainer requests. It’s optional. You can’t be arrested if you defy a detainer. An official can be arrested if he or she defies a warrant.
Finally, to make sanctuary cities comply with federal law, the Trump administration will now withhold money from them in the form of Justice Department grants. That means that cities like Seattle, which receive millions of dollars to beef up local law enforcement and to institute safety programs, may not get the money any longer. Which is why Seattle is suing. The whole thing is a giant mess and reflects the huge division in this country. Will sanctuary cities be forced to comply? Doubtful. But they will pay a price.