Sanctuary Cities: Trump’s First Challenge

King Henry VIII chose to ignore the limits of his power for the sake of convenience. Fast forward nearly 500 years later as we approach the end of the Obama presidency, we find the same attitude.

Obama governed by “a phone and a pen”. Obama proclaimed he had the right to ignore legislation on constitutional grounds. Ignore the law he did, particularly when it comes to illegals entering the United States.

This opened the door for other politicians from all levels of government to pick and choose which laws that they would follow, and which they would choose to ignore.

Trump sees what Obama did as blatant disrespect for the rule of law, and he affirms his position in the 60 Minutes interview:

“What we are going to do is get the people that are criminal and have criminal records, gang members, drug dealers, where a lot of these people, probably 2 million, it could be even 3 million, we are getting them out of our country or we are going to incarcerate,” Trump said in an interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes” correspondent Lesley Stahl. “But we’re getting them out of our country, they’re here illegally.”

Trump also has promised to block federal funding for sanctuary cities.

The debate over immigration and sanctuary cities has been heating up across the country.  Already many cities have declared that they will not comply with President-elect Trump’s plan to deport known illegal immigrants with violent criminal records:

Mayor Rahm ‘Dead Fish’ Emanuel declared Chicago’s commitment as a so-called “sanctuary city.”

“To be clear about what Chicago is, it always will be a sanctuary city,” the mayor said Monday.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh says he will not fully cooperate with immigration officials.

California, a land onto itself.

California, a state that has given Republicans Nixon, Reagan, and Deukmejian, has become a guaranteed blue state for Democrats over the last 25 years.  Hillary Clinton won by over 28% of the vote, and Democrats have gained a two-thirds super majorities in both hoses of the State Legislature.  California has set itself up to be ground-zero in the illegal immigration fight.  And the local leaders have already begun their posturing:

California State-Senate President Pro-Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) promised to defend “the rights” of immigrants here illegally (without acknowledging the citizens born and/or living here legally).  In a statement, De León said:

“It is erroneous and profoundly irresponsible to suggest that up to three million undocumented immigrants living in America are dangerous criminals.  I also want to assure the millions of people who are here pursuing and contributing to the California Dream, but lack documentation, that the State of California stands squarely behind you.”

Los Angeles city officials have signaled their support for the city’s immigrant residents.  Mayor Eric Garcetti said he would question Trump’s immigration position  More than one million of the estimated 11 million immigrants in the country without legal status live in Los Angeles County, according to the Migration Policy Institute.

LAPD Police Chief Charlie Beck said he planned to maintain the LAPD’s decades long-standing separation not enforcing immigration lawsChief Beck said.

“We are not going to engage in law enforcement activities solely based on somebody’s immigration status.  We are not going to work in conjunction with Homeland Security on deportation efforts.  That is not our job, nor will I make it our job.”

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee has promised San Francisco would also remain as a sanctuary city, to no one’s surprise. Kate Steinle was unavailable for comment, as her murderer is set to go on trial in February 2017.

Orange County Sheriff’s Department also doesn’t plan to alter its immigration enforcement policies, said spokesman Lt. Mark Stichter.

“Our policy specifically states that an arrest or detention of suspected undocumented residents solely for violation of immigration laws is not appropriate enforcement action,” he said in a statement.

“The Law Enforcement Code of Ethics is written into our policy which, in part, reads…`to respect the Constitutional rights of all persons to liberty, equality and justice,’” he said.

Orange County California, the onetime infamous Republican-stronghold of California has gradually over the last several election cycles gone from deep red, to pink, then purple, and finally went blue for Hillary Clinton in the last election.

Not everyone agrees.

Fresno County (CA) Sheriff Margaret Mims said,

“The solution was to put ICE agents inside our jail, so we don’t have inmates or suspects fall through the cracks, causing harm in our community.”

A partnership between the Fresno County Sheriff’s Department and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency aims to crack down on criminals in the U.S. illegally.

The sheriff’s department estimates it books about 100 inmates a day. Now, with help from ICE agents, dozens of undocumented suspects have been deported to their countries of origin since the pilot program began.  Two ICE agents are stationed at the jail, screening each inmate before they are let go.  The process takes about an hour per person and includes a background check.

Fresno County is one of the only departments in the country with a program like this and ICE officials hope other departments will follow Sheriff Margret Mims’ lead.

“It’s no secret that these criminal illegal aliens and terrorists are looking for places to go where they are least likely to be caught,” says Bristol County (MA) Sheriff Thomas Hodgson.  He says sanctuary cities are breaking federal law,

“What’s really troubling about this is that any elected official in this country would suggest that there should be a certain class of people who do not have to abide by our laws,” Hodgson says.

New Jersey State-Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-26) renewed his calls for the passage of ethics and transparency reforms as he sponsors legislation following published reports of a candidate for governor said he would ignore certain policies that he doesn’t agree with.

Author Lewis Gould explained the following:

“It reflects a breakdown of the comity that’s supposed to exist among the three branches of government.”  “The majority leader has no authority to say you can pick and choose among the laws you want to obey.”

But the law is not a salad bar from which you get to choose the selections you like.  Once a law has been enacted, politicians are supposed to respect it.

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