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27 January 2017


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Out of Steppe

The 10th Amendment states: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

Under the 10th Amendment, the federal government cannot commandeer state/local authorities to participate in a federal enforcement scheme. Despite the hyperbolic language of "sanctuary" cities, state and local governments are on solid ground in refusing to use local resources to enforce FEDERAL laws:




You are correct, there is not a legal basis for them to stand on, and they know it. The game plan seems to be to fight it in the courts, have the courts find it so, and then use it as a bloody shirt.

President Trump is planning on releasing a monthly report on crimes committed by illegal aliens, especially in as sanctuary cities. The man understands optics. During the signing ceremony for his immigration EOs, he read the names of those murdered by illegal aliens. Powerful stuff. He is striking back at the Left's holding up of a valedictorian from some crappy HS with 10 cases of citizens murdered by illegal aliens and saying "this is who they want to protect".

John Habib

I think the issue here is whether the federal government can pressure a local government to assist with the federal government's duties or lose federal funding.
In a similar recent situation, the supreme court ruled against the Feds. It stated the Obama administration cannot withhold traditional medicaid funding in order to force some states to accept the medicaid expansion under Obamacare.
There are many reasons why a local government may resist helping the feds. Politics is a big one, but there are valid ones as well. If a local government is perceived as overly helping the feds, then the illegal immigrant communities would not come forward and assist with law enforcement. Not to mention that figuring out who is legal and who is not is not always straightforward.

Edward Amame

The SCOTUS ruled that states (and municipalities) can't deny basic social services to anyone regardless of nationality, immigration status, etc.

There's also the "the anti-commandeering doctrine." The SCOTUS also says that a state can't obstruct federal law, but the feds can't force a state (and/or municipality) to act against its will, that the feds can't force the states to enforce federal law.


I can't speak to other states but in California, municipalities have certain sovereign capabilities. They can't conflict with state law of course but local jurisdiction is often quite burdensome. Building permits, zoning restrictions and even some criminal (misdemeanor only) laws can be municipal ones.

Still, issues of US citizenship are clearly federal, not state, and the federal government certainly can enforce them. While states do not have to cooperate, they can't stand in the way or obstruct those things the Constitution allows the Feds to do. I believe the founders would be aghast at the way the interstate commerce clause has been used by the Feds to extend control far beyond what the founders intended.


For Trump, not much political blowback to this; Clinton won the 100 most populous counties, i.e. cities, by 12.4 million votes, which is to say I doubt he anticipates the support of these municipalities 4 years from now. On the other hand, it's a sensitive issue for state legislators -- including Republicans -- who can't afford to alienate their largest districts.

The solution to illegal immigration, IMO, will begin with examining the impetus for *why* half a million people immigrate illegally here each year -- only the questions this would raise about the wisdom of our economic statecraft (and who it serves) is inconvenient for both sides. Thus politics as usual: at least four years of grandstanding back and forth on this one.

Clonal Antibody

Judge Napolitano had this to say

Thus the question: Are state and local governments required to help the feds enforce federal law? In a word: No.

The term “sanctuary cities” is not a legal term, but it has been applied by those in government and the media to describe municipalities that offer expanded social services to the undocumented and decline to help the feds find them -- including the case of Chicago's offering undocumented immigrants money for legal fees to resist federal deportation. As unwise as these expenditures may be by cities that are essentially bankrupt and rely on federal largesse in order to remain in the black, they are not unlawful. Cities and towns are free to expand the availability of social services however they please, taking into account the local political climate.

Enter the Supreme Court. It has required the states -- and thus the municipalities in them -- to make social services available to everyone resident within them, irrespective of citizenry or lawful or unlawful immigration status. This is so because the constitutional command to the states of equal protection applies to all persons, not just to citizens. So the states and municipalities may not deny basic social services to anyone based on nationality or immigration status.

The high court has also prohibited the federal government from “commandeering” the states by forcing them to work for the feds at their own expense by actively enforcing federal law. As Ronald Reagan reminded us in his first inaugural address, the states formed the federal government, not the other way around. They did so by ceding 16 discrete powers to the federal government and retaining to themselves all powers not ceded.

If this constitutional truism were not recognized or enforced by the courts, the federal government could effectively eradicate the sovereignty of the states or even bankrupt them by forcing them to spend their tax dollars enforcing federal law or paying for federal programs.

Thus the Trump dilemma. He must follow the Constitution, or the courts will enjoin him as they have his predecessor. He cannot use a stick to bend the governments of sanctuary cities to his will, but he can use a carrot. He can ask Congress for legislative grants of funds to cities conditioned upon their compliance with certain federal immigration laws.

marc b.

i'm no expert, but this a more complicated legal issue than some may appreciate. as i understand it, state authorities have very strict guidelines under which they have the authority to detain individuals arrested on state charges, who cannot document their legal status in the US. reporting requirements, distinct from detention, have a different set of standards, and i think prior CA law imposing an obligation on state and local law enforcement to report to the feds got struck down as a violation of the preemption clause. (that was a while ago, so things may have changed). for what it's worth anecdotally, friends/acquaintances of mine who are lawyers who do criminal work tell me that state judges always go through a colloquy with criminal defendants who are entering a plea, instructing them of the potential impact of the plea on their immigration status, but i presume that is directed at someone here on a 'green card', not to 'illegals'. so i am not sure that failure to detain, report, or otherwise enforce federal immigration law by state authorities necessarily constitute a state 'defying' federal law.


In December, I stood in the Nuremburg rally grounds https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazi_party_rally_grounds and in the square in Vienna where the Jews were rounded up after Kristallnacht. I also sat in the seats in the Palace of Justice.

One of the most effective ways the Nazis churned up hatred against the Jews was their regular publication of the real and trumped up "crimes" of the Jews in the Völkischer Beobachter. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V%C3%B6lkischer_Beobachter

There is strong evidence that illegal immigrants do everything they can do to avoid engaging in criminal activity and the great majority of them work hard, try their best to follow the law, and do not commit crimes. Certainly there are a few bad apples, but statistically, the crimes they commit are proportionally small when compared to non-immigrants.

The reason Trump wants to list immigrant crimes is simply that he wants to create irrational fear by scapegoating immigrants so that he can increase his personal power by making people act from fear.

Citizens are more likely to be killed by an infant with a gun than they are to be harmed by an immigrant. https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2015/04/09/deaths-of-children-are-the-most-devastating-effect-of-our-gun-culture-the-nra-has-no-idea-what-to-say-about-them/?utm_term=.5a04a1aaafa5

The listing of the immigrant crimes to enhance fear and to scapegoat immigrants who make up a large part of the fabric of this nation is a shameful act.

Leading a nation by engendering hate and scorn is effective. It may even be fun for the supporters of the movement.

Leading by fear, hate and scorn is un-American. We are better than those who destroyed Europe in the mid Twentieth Century who had a great time at the rallies and dreamed of nationalistic domination.

Perhaps now is a time for me to recommend a book. https://www.amazon.com/They-Thought-Were-Free-Germans-ebook/dp/B00D4M89A4/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1485543258&sr=1-1&keywords=they+thought+they+were+free The eBook is pricey, but it is a worthwhile read for the members of this committee regardless of whether you are liberal, conservative, or nationalist, the better to understand where we are now in our history and to help us understand the weaknesses in our souls.


You must carefully separate refusal to enforce a federal law from compliance with a federal law. For example, my local police will have nothing to do with complaints about violations of SEC regulations. That's a federal matter. You have a complain, call the Feds. Neither do they go looking around for SEC violations.

This is not the same as refusing to comply with federal law. The town is quite careful to comply with SEC regulations regarding bonds, filings, payments, etc.

Both of these issues are often mixed together quite carelessly in discussions of sanctuary cities and in the implementation of sanctuary cities. It's quite reasonable for a city to say "Not our problem. Call the Feds." It's not reasonable to violate the federal laws.



What court decisions were these? Where in the Constitution does the Judicial branch gain power to impose funding directives to the legislative or executive branches of government?

The Twisted Genius

It's not so much a matter of cities and states defying federal law as it is of cities and states refusing to expend local funds and resources in the enforcement of those federal laws. Others here have pointed out the tendency of the courts to side with state and local rights over Federal over reach. I don't see that trend changing. The cities and states don't show much heart in clamping down on local businesses hiring illegals either. If the Feds focus their internal efforts on gangs and drug crime associated with illegals, they may get more cooperation. In the meantime, securing the borders and getting a handle on the flow of immigrants/visitors should receive priority. I also see a full reinstatement of those programs that allowed local law enforcement to enforce federal immigration laws. Obama pretty much put an end to that.


Newsflash: if "the courts find it so", it *is* law by definition.



You're wrong. 287(g) is not at issue here, but local interference in refusing to recognize federal immigration law. Your half baked website doesn't grok the Supremacy Clause.


Sometimes, a little numerical perspective can help us understand the extent to which illegal immigrants are part of the very fabric of our society and the magnitude of forcing them all to leave.

It is estimated that there are 11.3 million illegal immigrants in the U.S.


Based upon the U.S. Census 2016 Population estimates, deporting all 11.3 million illegal would be equivalent to deporting the entire populations of the eight red states, Alaska, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming plus about 427,000 from other states.


Then, add to that the number of legal immigrants and native born citizens who are part of the families of the illegal immigrants. The affected population is simply Yuuuge.

Eric Newhill

I'm no lawyer either, but it seems to me that the left is opening a door they may not want opened by working on setting a precedent with sanctuary cities (which I am against) defying federal law and with cannabis legalization (which I am for).

Could we not then have 2A sanctuary cities - or states - in which citizens are allowed to own machine guns and RPGs, purchased over the counter, no permit or licensing required and carried openly if desired? How about right to life sanctuaries where abortions are outlawed? How about return to segregation sanctuaries?

What difference does it make what the SCOTUS has ruled on these matters? SCOTUS has upheld laws making cannabis illegal, has it not? If SCOTUS can be ignored in that matter, why not these others?

My understanding is that, technically, the federal government could send agents into the states where cannabis is legal under local law and arrest everyone involved in that business. It has just chosen not to. Same with sanctuary cities. And so it would be with the possibilities I mentioned.

So this, it seems to me, is a real test of how far the feds are willing to go. Cutting funding is the nice approach. They could get far more heavy handed. If nothing is done by the feds, in the current political atmosphere, what is to stop local governments from defying the feds on matters that the progressives wouldn't like?


Andrew Jackson's portrait is telling. I suspect any legal chicanery will be met with "Mr. Roberts has made his decision. Let him enforce it."



Eisenhower didn't send in the 101st Airborne to enforce Brown v Board of Ed? I see.



These powers are granted to local municipalities by the states as a function of the states' sovereignty. they are not evidence of local sovereignty. pl



You are an odd lawyer. you seem unconcerned with the law itself. The mayor of Washington, DC proposes to use public money to resist federal authority in this matter. This is all right with you? pl



"There is strong evidence that illegal immigrants do everything they can do to avoid engaging in criminal activity ...

100% of illegal immigrants are in violation of immigration laws.

Thanks for the Nuremberg, Kristallnacht reminders. A couple of my relatives died ending the Holocaust. You can keep the guilt trip but be sure to say thanks the next time you're in Tunisia:


ALL illegal immigrants are engaged in criminal activity. What don't you understand about the word "illegal" ? Any crimes they may or may not commit after arrival is irrelevant to their initial criminal act. It is ludicrous to compare the (hopefully) round up and deportation of illegal immigrants in the US with the persecution of Jews in Nazi Germany. The Jews were German citizens. The illegals in the US are invaders and should be treated the same as any invader.


Only if the courts have the authority to rule on the matter in question.



Judge Judy's brother was a New Jersey judge. "was" and "New Jersey" being the operative words. His media opinion is worth the paper its printed on.



If this is a math test then you left out some important numbers. According to the UN Earth's population reached 7 Billion in 2011. By your logic they all have "equal rights" to enter the US illegally and there is nothing actual citizens of the US can do about it.

"The affected population is simply Yuuuge" Yes it is. How many other federal laws don't apply to them, like not voting in our elections?

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