The Trump administration took a broad step forward last week to enforce its promise to put an end to illegal immigration by focusing on deception from sanctuary cities. The Department of Justice (DOJ) threatened to subpoena a total of 23 cities for information, if they refused to provide documentation proving an open transfer of information between the cities and federal authorities like ICE.
• Local mayors, including the president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors Mitch Landrieu, accused the President of using cities as “political props.” He and a long list of other mayors are now refusing to attend a previously scheduled White House meeting on immigration.
• Landrieu accused trump of “threatening mayors” and “demonizing immigrants.” The New Orleans leader, who was in power during the Hurricane Katrina debacle, said he felt that the meeting was now “untenable.”
• New York mayor Bill De Blasio also refused to attend the meeting because of the threats, accusing the president of committing a “racist assault on our immigrant communities.” He also indicated that the move “…doesn’t make us safer,” and in fact “…violates America’s core values.”
• Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti also stepped up to defend sanctuary cities, including his own. He vowed to “…keep fighting for the Constitution,” no matter what action the Trump administration created. Garcetti also fears that forced disclosure will drive illegal immigration underground and cause significant breakdown in communication between local law enforcement officials and immigrants.
• U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber agrees that the move will harm open dialogue within local communities. “The harm to the city’s relationship with the immigrant community if it should accede to the conditions is irreparable.”
• Sessions disputes the idea that forcing sanctuary cities to disclose is risky in any way. “Protecting criminal aliens from federal immigration authorities defies common sense and undermines the rule of law.”
• The DOJ’s demand for information comes just days after a conversations around immigration caused a complete government shutdown. The shutdown ended with a temporary order to restore the flow of money, but increased pressure over immigration could cause another shutdown once the order ends of February 8.
• There is talk that such a demand may violate the 10th Amendment under the U.S. Constitution, which specifically protects the balance of power between states and the federal government. The 10th Amendment preserves the right of the state to produce and define its own individual laws and policies, including within law enforcement. In similar past challenges, the Supreme Court voted almost exclusively in favor of the state’s right to autonomy. However, federal law still stands, even if state law differs.
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What role do you think sanctuary cities are playing in the bigger picture? Should they even exist?