DHS arresting the mayors of NYC, Chicago, L.A., Berkeley, San Francisco, Boulder, etc. (and perhaps throwing in the Governor of California for good measure) for example, seems a good bit more likely to provoke a real serious showdown between the cities / states and the Feds than just about anything else in recent memory.
It seems to me that it would be a stretch to make an arrest of any city or state official in the general case of voting for or in some way approval of policies favoring a sanctuary status. States have the stronger claim than cities as they enjoy a dual sovereignty status. It would take a more detailed showing of specific actions to subvert a federal immigration action or investigation to support an arrest or prosecution. So long as the city or state isn’t using its police powers to hide persons wanted by federal immigration officials (or something similarly egregious) then the feds are out of luck. And the state or local authority had better be ready to face public scrutiny if something then goes horribly wrong such as in the Kate Steinle murder.
But the federal government has a history of offering inducements to encourage states to take specific actions. If there is an agreement in place for local cooperation on federal immigration matters and the state or local entity is not holding up its end of the bargain then the feds have cause to stop providing the metaphorical carrot.
The law is pretty clear on this issue. States cannot be commandeered by the federal government. States do not have to cooperate with federal programs in any way, whether it’s drug enforcement, tax enforcement, or immigration enforcement.
Seems to me though that if they are exploring “avenues”, the best avenue is simply to publish press releases whenever a sanctuary city or state releases a dangerous criminal that federal authorities wanted held for deportation. A PR war is perfectly legal and exactly the right approach. Let the voters decide.
“You see this guy? Pistol whipped and raped an elderly woman. California authorities, under Jerry Brown’s leadership, just released him in Los Angeles. Tell Gov. Brown what you think of that.”
It also occurs to me that they could offer rewards for these dangerous sorts to people who report their whereabouts to ICE. Just because California wants to protect these folks doesn’t mean citizens can’t turn them in to federal authorities.
That’s where sanctuary cities have their biggest effect though. Sanctuary cities can’t protect anyone from the federal government. Their primary means of defiance are not turning over criminals to ICE after they’ve served their sentences. All the other stuff is minor and of little concern. But not turning over dangerous criminals for deportation is craziness.
For once, I totally agree with adaher. If the feds want local governments to do something that they aren’t legally obligated to do, the locals are totally justified in telling the feds to go pound sand. Anything that the administration does in retaliation is going to be shot down by the courts. The only crisis is that we have an administration quickly going down the tubes and lashing out at everything in sight.
You think that when the cops in California arrest Miguel Sanchez for murdering a busload of nuns, they just let him go when they find out he’s undocumented?
Or do they arrest Miguel Sanchez, and try him, and convict him, and incarcerate him, and then release him once his sentence is completed? And if ICE wants to deport him, ICE needs to show up and detain him after his sentence is complete?
The facts of the matter is that if California releases Miguel Sanchez on Tuesday, and ICE can’t be arsed to show up on Tuesday to pick him up, then Miguel Sanchez walks out of prison like everyone else who has completed their time. If ICE shows up to get him, then they get him. Otherwise not. That case where that violent criminal murdered a white girl? It happened AFTER he was released. It wasn’t like California let a white-girl-murdering illegal go free, because he hadn’t murdered that white girl yet.
We let lots of criminals out of prison after they’ve completed their sentences, and some percentage of those criminals go on to re-offend. We don’t have a crystal ball to tell which ones will go on to murder white girls, and anyway in this country we don’t convict people for future crimes, only for past crimes.
We’re talking about the federal government here, although part of the reason is that they might not know when someone is getting released. The idea is that the locals detain the guy so ICE can pick them up.
Nevertheless, releasing a dangerous criminal that we don’t have to have here into the population doesn’t strike me as popular even in California.