Trump and Sessions Keep Trying to Institute Anti-Immigrant Policies

They just can’t win.

Since taking office, President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions have been trying illegally to strong-arm law enforcement agencies across the country into colluding with the Department of Homeland Security’s mass deportation agenda. But the courts have blocked them every step of the way.

President Trump took his first shot across the bow just a few days after inauguration. A single provision buried in Executive Order 13768 threatened to cut off all federal funds to so-called sanctuary cities. The provision was broad and undefined. It appeared to target jurisdictions that have adopted a range of lawful and sensible law-enforcement policies.

A federal court in California quickly put the executive order’s provision on hold. And last Monday, after months of hearings, the court permanently blocked the unconstitutional provision, ruling that it violated separation of powers, the Constitution’s Spending Clause, and the Tenth Amendment. The court also ruled that the provision was unconstitutionally vague. The judge in the case wrote that “[f]ederal funding that bears no meaningful relationship to immigration enforcement cannot be threatened merely because a jurisdiction chooses an immigration enforcement strategy of which the President disapproves.” The government has appealed this case to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, but for the time being, the president cannot carry out his threat.

Attorney General Sessions tried another way to coerce local governments into adopting anti-immigrant policies. His strategy was to attach new conditions to existing federal law enforcement grants. In July, he announced that recipients of Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) funds, which support a wide range of local programs including indigent defense, crime prevention, and drug treatment, would henceforth be required to allow Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents to enter jails to interrogate inmates and provide 48 hours’ notice of an inmate’s release date if ICE requests it.

In September, a federal court in Chicago blocked these conditions nationwide, ruling that the Justice Department had no authority to impose new requirements on the grant money – that’s the job of Congress. Again, the Trump administration has appealed to the Seventh Circuit. Earlier this month, a federal court in Philadelphia also ruled that these new conditions are illegal.

Not to be discouraged, Sessions tried the same tactic with a different pot of Justice Department money. In September, he announced that applicants for Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Office grants would receive preferential consideration if they cooperated with ICE’s interrogation and notification demands. Last week, the Justice Department announced more than $98 million in COPS grants to hire 802 new full-time law enforcement officers across the country — and claimed that 80 percent of the grantees had agreed to cooperate with the feds on immigration enforcement. COPS funds are intended to help build trust between communities and law enforcement. Instead, Sessions is trying to incentivize police departments to do the exact opposite – discouraging immigrants from contacting the police if they are victims or witnesses to a crime, for fear that they or their family members might be detained and deported.

And sometimes Sessions resorts to naked threats. Since August, the Justice Department has sent at least two rounds of letters to states and local jurisdictions it deems to have insufficient immigration policies. The letters are impressive in their desperation, proposing a new and expansive interpretation of federal law that would strip Byrne JAG funds from almost any local law enforcement agency that limits entanglement with federal immigration enforcement. They are meant to frighten cities and states into agreeing to dedicate government personnel and taxpayer dollars to help the federal government advance its harsh vision of immigration enforcement — but, as its repeated losses in courts confirm, the Justice Department’s legal footing is weak.

With these letters, the administration continues its campaign to harass cities and states that support immigrant communities and advance public safety by focusing their efforts locally and leaving federal immigration enforcement to the feds. The law, however, is clear: Trump and Sessions cannot force state and local governments to do their bidding, no matter how hard they try.

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Anonymous

Here's the problem with Trump and Sessions, they both work within the law, it's time for the Justice Department to train a dedicated group of people to be Street Judges. With these Street Judges they wouldn't have to worry about court orders or throwing money in front of the local police.

If the local police won't or can't do the job then the Street Judges will do the job...

Anonymous

So, do we call these Street Judges the 'Brown Shirts' or Gestapo?

Anonymous

They need to follow through more and get these cases to the Supreme Court. Until they do, the lower court, activist, judges will just keep issuing rulings based on their personal opinions instead of the laws.

Anonymous

We already have street judges. They are called cop killers.

Anonymous

Anonymous1: They aren't Brown Shirts or the Gestapo, they're to be addressed as Judge (whatever) like "Judge Dredd".
Anonymous2: The Supreme Court doesn't guarantee a ruling in favor of the Trump Administration so as long as Chief Justice Roberts and Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy are around. If they want a favorable opinion then they really need to sell their argument to those two.
Anonymous3: Cop killers wouldn't work because these "Judges" are police officer, judge, jury, and executioner all at the same time. A cop killer is by definition is criminal and likely be sent to death row, exactly the opposite of the roles of police officer, judge, jury, and executioner.

Anonymous

Here come illegal immigrants. ....there goes the farm and up goes the criminal element, build that wall!

Anonymous

Well as far as i know if your family came from another country as well why not let people have a chance in giving there family a good life!! Your very selfish cause everyone is not the same i have family members that have came from my mothers country that have fought for this country and still are serving this country so don't judge!!!!

Anonymous

About 25% of the British immigrants in the 18th century were convicts.

Anonymous

Speaking of other people, what about the potential immigrants who can't just walk across the border? Shouldn't they have an equal shot at coming to the USA and having the "good life"? Are you advocating for Mexican and Central American citizens because the "other people", the ones who have very little chance of coming here under our current system, are (GASP!) ---BLACK! Yep, our system favors Mexicans and Latin Americans over darker skinned nationalities and favoring lighter skin colors over darker ones is ......... RACIST!

Anonymous

Why are you scaring immigrants into believing that the US Government is out to get them? The US Government INVITED immigrants here and gave them paperwork saying they could come here with the intent to become citizens. Besides, the US government is busy trying to get rid of the uninvited FOREIGNERS who sneaked in and now are refusing to leave. After we clear them out maybe we can invite more immigrants and refugees.

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