By Mayor Joseph Curtatone
One of the things I continually run into when talking about sanctuary cities is right wing talking points that simply ignore the law. I’ve mentioned before how the ICE Secure Communities program was found to be in violation of the 4th Amendment during the Obama administration. Here’s a column from a libertarian/right-leaning site that spells out exactly why local police are not required to act as de facto ICE agents (link below). Here’s the critical section:
As Justice Antonin Scalia observed in his 2007 majority opinion in Printz v. United States, “the Federal Government may neither issue directives requiring the States to address particular problems, nor command the States’ officers, or those of their political subdivisions, to administer or enforce a federal regulatory program.” In other words, thanks to the 10th Amendment and to the constitutional principles of federalism, the federal government may not commandeer the states for federal purposes. What that means here is that state and local officials have every right to refuse to enforce federal immigration laws.
It’s a principle of law so clear, Antonin Scalia and I agree on it. The same site also took Sessions (and by extension Sheriff Hodgson) to task for misquoting/misapplying a subsection of Title 8 in trying to put heat on sanctuary cities – http://reason.com/blog/2017/03/28/sessions-targeting-of-sanctuary-cities-n. It explains:
That code is merely about communication about immigration status between various law enforcement agencies and immigration services. It says that government entities may not prohibit communications between law enforcement agencies and immigration officials about somebody’s status as an immigrant or citizen. The code does not require local law enforcement agencies to assist the federal government in deporting immigrants, nor does it require them to honor federal requests to hold illegal immigrants so that ICE can pick them up.
I’ll add that the communication between local police and ICE largely has been automated since 9/11. Also, attempts to use that section of Title 8 as a justification to hold people on ICE detainers has failed in the courts when it’s run up against the 4th Amendment. Federal courts have repeatedly agreed with the summary I’ve quoted above.
So, if you keep repeating right wing dogma and wondering why that’s not getting much of anywhere in the real world, these are the reasons why. I’m on the side that’s been winning court cases on this issue for decades. We’ve got the 4th and 10th amendments backing us up.
The reality everybody needs to grasp is that sanctuary cities are operating fully within the structure of the law, and have for decades. The politicians trying to make an issue of sanctuary cities are doing it as a distraction tactic because they refuse to undertake the immigration reform this country desperately needs.