By Tank Murdoch
(TNS) As the Trump administration ramps up enforcement of federal immigration laws in spite of state and local ordinances designed to block or limit the activities of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, Left-wing jurisdictions are responding.
As reported by The Wall Street Journal, Democrat-run cities and states are once again showing their preference for people in the country illegally by targeting private facilities used by ICE to detain them.
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Lawmakers in California, Maryland, and Washington state are currently debating such measures. And California locals have already blocked initial ICE plans to create two of three new detention centers the agency was pushing ahead with despite a state law that was intended to block them.
“The battles underscore how political leaders in left-leaning communities are looking for new ways to resist Trump administration policies with which their constituents strongly disagree,” the WSJ reports, adding that the agency relies on private-prison firms to house some 81 percent of roughly 44,000 migrants detained in 218 facilities as of January, according to government and ACLU data.
Lawmakers in those states claim that private prisons have ‘poor records’ when it comes to detaining migrants.
“Right now people are suffering and dying in ICE detention centers across the country,” Maryland Delegate Vaughn M. Stewart III, a Democrat who wrote that state’s bill, told the WSJ. “There has been medical negligence, isolation, abuse and even death.”
That may be, but clearly private facilities’ records on such issues is no better or worse than state-run facilities housing regular prisoners. And besides, as critics of these measures point out, the people who fall under ICE’s enforcement jurisdiction are not in the country legally in the first place.
But such local and state ordinances are going to run headlong into renewed efforts by the Trump administration to enforce all immigration laws:
The efforts to limit private detention come as the Trump administration has ratcheted up pressure on cities that declare themselves sanctuaries for immigrants without legal authorization. A federal appeals court last week said President Trump had the authority to withhold funds from states that resist helping with immigration enforcement.
On Feb. 10, Attorney General William Barr said law-enforcement officers are being “put in harm’s way by these ideologically driven policies,” and announced a series of lawsuits against local jurisdictions. — WSJ
Not only that, but ICE agents have begun to simply ignore state laws. As we reported in February, agents brushed aside a state law requiring them to first obtain a court-issued warrant before they could take custody of illegal immigrants inside state courthouses.
In a little-noticed story published by the Los Angeles Times, ICE agents arrested a pair of illegal aliens in a Northern California courthouse in ‘defiance’ of the state’s “sanctuary law.”
The paper and other ‘mainstream media’ outlets reported that ICE agents “flouted” the state law in doing their jobs.
The AP added:
Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch, Public Defender Kathleen Pozzi and San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin condemned the arrests for undermining public safety. Sonoma County counsel Bruce Goldstein called ICE’s actions “lawless” because the agents had no warrants.
“It’s now going to put total fear in the community,” Pozzi said in an interview with the Press Democrat. “People aren’t going to come to court. Victims will refuse to show up. Witnesses will refuse to show up … cases will have to get dismissed.”
‘Sanctuary’ laws are intended to block local law enforcement from cooperating with federal immigration authorities. But now Democrat-run localities and states are going after ICE’s ability to even detain illegal migrants.
California’s law banning private prison facilities for migrants took effect Jan. 1, but ICE had contracted with two facilities shortly before the law took effect, angering the state’s super-Democrat majority and its Democrat governor, Gavin Newsom.
One of the Trump administration’s growing list of lawsuits targets California’s private detention law.
“California, of course, is free to decide that it will no longer use private detention facilities for its own state prisoners and detainees,” the Trump administration wrote in a motion. “But it cannot dictate that choice for the Federal Government, especially in a manner that discriminates against the Federal Government and those with whom it contracts.”
While Democrats in states and cities around the country are committed to blocking federal enforcement of immigration laws any way they can, ultimately they run afoul of the Constitution in doing so. California and every other “sanctuary” city and jurisdiction in the country are actually “flouting” federal law, which, under the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause, supersede state and local laws. And Homeland Security officials reminded California courts and prosecutors and lawmakers of that fact in response to the ‘outcry.’
ICE said in a statement that California’s law doesn’t supersede federal law and “will not govern the conduct of federal officers acting pursuant to duly enacted laws passed by Congress that provide the authority to make administrative arrests of removable aliens inside the United States.”
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“Our officers will not have their hands tied by sanctuary rules when enforcing immigration laws to remove criminal aliens from our communities,” David Jennings, ICE’s field office director in San Francisco, added.
As we’ve long believed, there is a showdown coming between Democrat-run states and the Trump administration over immigration, because of one thing: Political power. The Census counts everyone, not just citizens, and by depriving Left-wing states of their immigrant populations, they are bound to lose congressional seats and, thus, political power in DC.
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