Feds Take Aim At Sanctuary Jurisdictions
By David Jaroslav | FAIR Take | February 2020
In recent weeks, the federal government has taken a number of actions against the dangerous recklessness of sanctuary policies.
In January, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) began issuing subpoenas to sanctuary cities, counties and states, seeking to compel disclosure of information about illegal aliens in their custody. Previously, ICE had merely requested the information. The federal government first subpoenaed information from officials in New York City and Denver. Recently, San Diego County, California; Washington County, Oregon; and the State of Connecticut were added. The subpoenas have been met with resistance, but Acting ICE Director Matthew Albence warned that state and local officials who “fail to comply can be held in contempt, adding “they can show up to court with a toothbrush because they might not be going home that night.”
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), on February 6, suspended Global Entry and several other federal Trusted Traveler Programs (TTP) for residents of New York. These programs expedite re-entry into the U.S. of those who participate, saving time and energy. This was in response to the Empire State’s “Green Light Law” which passed last June and became effective in December. The “Green Light Law” not only allows illegal aliens to get drivers’ licenses, but also denies federal immigration authorities access to the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) information database.
DHS Acting Secretary Chad Wolf explained that the Green Light Law “and the corresponding lack of security cooperation from the New York DMV requires DHS to take immediate action to ensure DHS's efforts to protect the Homeland are not compromised.” Unsurprisingly, Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) called the move “political retaliation” and New York Attorney General (AG) Leticia James (D) has already filed a lawsuit in response. Governor Cuomo also made a special trip to the White House to meet directly with the president to see if a compromise could be made that would save the coveted traveler programs used by many of his state’s citizens.
On February 10, US Attorney General (AG) William Barr announced that the Department of Justice (DOJ was filling lawsuits in New Jersey, California, and King County, Washington for unconstitutionally interfering with federal immigration enforcement. The lawsuit filed by AG Barr against New Jersey, stems from a directive issued by New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal barring officials from sharing information with ICE as well as requiring law enforcement to promptly notify aliens if a detainer has been filed against them. The suit in California opposed the State’s efforts banning private detention centers that shield illegal aliens. AG Barr filed suit against King County, Washington, because the county denied ICE the use of its airport for deportation flights. Barr stated that “by no means do the efforts outlined above signify the culmination of our fight to ensure the rule of law, to defend the Constitution, and to keep Americans safe. We will consider taking action against any jurisdiction that, or any politician who, unlawfully obstructs the federal enforcement of immigration law.”
Finally, on February 14, the Border Patrol confirmed it was deploying 100 officers, including members of the elite Border Patrol Tactical Unit (BORTAC), into sanctuary cities to support ICE’s efforts to apprehend aliens. The cities where officers will be deployed include New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta, Houston, Boston, New Orleans, Detroit and Newark. ICE Director Albence said “the deployment comes in response to policies adopted by these sanctuary cities, which have made it harder for immigration agents to do their jobs.”