Despite President Trump’s promises seemingly always coming to fruition, cities, and states are still refusing to give up their “sanctuary status.” Many of these locations are turning down millions of dollars in government grants just to house illegal immigrants who have entered the country.
Some cities are handing the undocumented immigrants right over to ICE, while cities like New York are secretly telling ICE agents when undocumented immigrants are going to court. This gives them the ability to arrest right after their court hearing is done. Other cities are refusing to turn in illegal immigrants.
The term “sanctuary city” isn’t an official term but once the upcoming bills are approved, they will “swear under penalty of perjury that they comply with federal detainer requests.” Pennsylvania State Sen. Guy Reschenthaler addressed the issue in labeling:
“If a city calls itself a sanctuary city, that means a lot of different things to a lot of different cities.”
Reschenthaler has pushed legislation that bans “municipalities of refuge.” According to The Hill, Reschenthaler’s bill is waiting for action in the House and “would withhold state grants from any city that does not agree to hold detainees for up to 48 hours at ICE’s request.”
Republican legislators have been mimicking Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has threatened to pull federal grant money if states didn’t respond:
“The Department of Justice will require jurisdictions seeking or applying for Department grants to certify compliance. Failure to remedy violations could result in withholding of grants, termination of grants, and disbarment or ineligibility for future grants.”
The biggest issue surrounding these laws is the issue of legal clarity. Some local governments are saying that only federal government can force federal immigration laws or else it would be known as “commandeering” which is unconstitutional. Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes told The Hill about “commandeering”:
“It’s invading our sovereignty. It’s trying to commandeer local resources to apply federal law. The federal government doesn’t have the right to commandeer, to say we’re going to conscript [Seattle Police Department] officers to enforce federal immigration laws.”
According to Cody Wofsy, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union Immigrants’ Rights Project, the federal government can’t force states to do the following:
“There is a whole body of case law that, among other things, establishes that the federal government can’t force or require states and localities to become appendages of the federal government’s own regulatory goal.”
What do you think about these sanctuary cities and the fact that local government shouldn’t be able to force a ban of sanctuary cities? Let us know in the comments below!
Credit: The Hill