When President Trump issued his Executive Order on January 25, 2017, that denies federal funding to so-called sanctuary cities, it was inevitable that it would be a lightning rod.
One of his main campaign promises was to bring the power of his office to bear on local governments who defied federal law and refused to notify ICE of criminals found to be in this country illegally. Much to the surprise of many on the left, Donald Trump, hasn’t acted like a typical politician – he kept his promise.
Reaction to the Executive Order from across the political spectrum has been immediate. Fearing the potential loss of federal funding, some municipalities quickly announced they would no longer provide such safe haven. Others, emboldened by premature claims they were immune from repercussions, dug in their heels and proudly boasted they will ignore the President.
Dayton, Ohio is a smaller city that dropped its policy restricting the city’s cooperation with immigration officials pursuing illegal immigrants who have been arrested for misdemeanors or felony property crimes. Dayton’s Police Chief, Richard Biehl, promised that his department will no longer impede the pursuit of illegal immigrants.
The first major municipal government to announce it would no longer consider itself a sanctuary is Miami-Dade County. Its mayor has changed its policy of refusing to hold arrested illegal immigrants for immigration officers unless ICE did not reimburse the county for the cost of detention. Mayor Carlos Gimenez of Miami-Dade acknowledges that the potential loss of millions of dollars in federal funding was his main motivation.
Other cities, however, remain resolute that no amount of federal pressure will deter them from sheltering those who are in this country illegally.
Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York told reporters, “We’re going to defend all of our people regardless of where they come from, regardless of their immigration status.”
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel also vows to protect illegal immigrants, even those suspected or convicted of crimes. He said, “I want to be clear: We’re going to stay a sanctuary city. There is no stranger among us… you are welcome in Chicago as you pursue the American dream.”
Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) spokesman, Ira Mehlman, predicts many more communities will be dropping or dramatically modifying their sanctuary stances. “We’re going to see more of this,” Mehlman told Fox News. “Faced with the possibility of losing federal dollars, they’ll choose to keep funding public services rather than protecting illegal aliens.”
Mayors defending their sanctuary city status have essentially imposed a defiance tax on local residents due to lost federal dollars. That tax amounts, on average, to $500 per man, woman and child. Major cities like New York, Washington, D.C., and Chicago have the most to lose.
Part of the narrative used to justify sanctuary status is clearly without merit. One of the justifications used by cities like New York City and Los Angeles is that their communities simply want to protect immigration rights. The problem with that is that illegal aliens are not immigrants. And immigrant, by definition, is someone who has been granted lawful permanent resident status by the U.S. government. According to Title 8 of the U.S. Code § 1227, unauthorized (illegal) aliens are subject to deportation.
Los Angeles County and the rest of California provided Hillary Clinton with her lead in the presidential popular vote so it is no surprise that the mayor of Los Angeles has no intention of complying with President Trump’s Executive Order. There is also a strong move to declare the entire state a sanctuary.
Other states like Missouri and Texas stand firmly in agreement with the order and the law it seeks to uphold. The Missouri legislature acted to rein in sanctuary cities by amending Chapter 67of the Missouri Revised Statutes, enacting Section 67.307. The new Act prohibits municipalities from enacting sanctuary policies under the penalty of becoming ineligible for certain state funding.
Texas Governor, Greg Abbott moved to withhold $1.5m from Travis County’s law enforcement as penalty for Austin’s “sanctuary city” status. “As governor,” said Abbott, “I will not tolerate sanctuary city policies that put the citizens of Texas at risk. Elected officials do not get to pick and choose which laws they will obey.”
The standoff between some sanctuary cities and the federal government is likely to continue for quite a while. In the end, however, it may be the need for federal dollars that changes the minds of a growing number of formerly resolute officials.
~ Conservative Zone