We’ve seen plenty of instances of so-called “sanctuary cities” receiving warnings from the Trump administration about bad things which may be happening soon, but now the game has moved to the next level. With the passage of a new bill in California we’re going to have our first, official “sanctuary state” if the Governor signs it into law. And this legislation is about far more than simply refusing to hold illegal aliens in jail for an extra couple of days on a detainment notice from ICE. This one is out and out defiance of the law on multiple fronts. (CNN)
In defiance of President Donald Trump’s immigration policies, the California Senate passed a bill to limit state and local police cooperation with federal immigration authorities.
Senate Bill 54, which unofficially has been called a “sanctuary state” bill, bars state and local law enforcement agencies from using their resources, including money, facility, property, equipment or personnel, to help with immigration enforcement. They would be prohibited from asking about immigration status, giving federal immigration authorities access to interview a person in custody or assisting them in immigration enforcement.
The bill passed the Senate in a 27-12 vote along party lines with Democrats in support and Republicans in opposition.
SB 54 heads to the California State Assembly, where Democrats hold a super majority. If it passes there, the bill would go to Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown.
Looking over the details, this it some straight up defiance of the rule of law. Under this measure the police in California won’t just be “failing to help” immigration officials… they will be openly hindering them in the performance of their lawful duties. Out on the streets they will be forbidden from asking anyone about their immigration status, essentially giving illegal aliens a free pass in any law enforcement encounter. But far worse than that, the cops will have to forbid ICE agents access to prisoners even when the agents do show up at a jail in time to interview someone. There’s a term for that in legal circles and it’s known as obstruction of justice.
The state is also making no secret whatsoever of why they are doing this. It has nothing to do with a disagreement between state and federal authorities on interpretation of the law. State Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (who wrote the bill) was very clear in what they were doing, calling the legislation, “a rejection of President Trump’s false and cynical portrayal of undocumented residents as a lawless community.”
If I could offer a bit of help to senator de Leon and be forgiven for losing my impartial demeanor, even if you want to think of illegal aliens as a “community” in this context, they are lawless by definition, you grandstanding buffoon! That’s why they’re “illegal aliens.”
There’s one other point to consider here in terms of turning up the heat in this debate to encompass an entire state. The largely liberal cities have to make their own choices and live with the consequences, but this measure would affect every part of California. That includes the more conservative, inland areas where such defiance of the law is not nearly as popular. If California is seriously considering splitting off to become their own nation they may be in for a civil war before the dust has settled from the original secession.
So what will the White House do about it in response? We’ve seen a few hints already, with Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions talking about cutting federal grant money for law enforcement to sanctuary cities. The San Diego Union Tribune recently calculated that the Justice Department doles out about $4.1B in law enforcement grants every year and a big chunk of that goes to California. Hey, guys? Never mind about that appropriations bill and the border construction money. We just found enough to cover the first ninety miles. And the wall just got twenty feet higher. Thanks, California!