Open borders enthusiasts have something to celebrate this week after a district judge in Chicago declared one entire section of immigration law unconstitutional. The result was an injunction placed against a Justice Department rule saying that Chicago (and other non-compliant jurisdictions) would be ineligible for certain federal grants if they failed to cooperate with immigration enforcement officials in sharing information on the immigration status of suspects. The basis for the judge’s ruling seems a bit suspicious (to put it mildly) and this ruling will obviously be appealed. (Newsweek)
A law the Trump administration had relied on in an effort to penalize sanctuary cities — those that refuse to pursue immigrants for special scrutiny — was declared unconstitutional by a district judge on Friday.
Judge Harry Leinenweber decreed efforts to impose immigration-related conditions on federal law enforcement grants were unconstitutional.
Sanctuary city is a term describe jurisdictions which don’t completely cooperate with federal immigration enforcement, specifically when it comes to apply President Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy.
The law cited by the Justice Department is 8 U.S. Code § 1373 – Communication between government agencies and the Immigration and Naturalization Service. The applicable section reads as follows:
“Notwithstanding any other provision of Federal, State, or local law, a Federal, State, or local government entity or official may not prohibit, or in any way restrict, any government entity or official from sending to, or receiving from, the Immigration and Naturalization Service information regarding the citizenship or immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of any individual.”
Judge Leinenweber justified his decision by citing the Supreme Court’s 6-3 ruling in Murphy v. NCAA this past May. That seems odd because, in Murphy, the court was considering a law in a single state covering a measure which would only apply to residents of that state, in this case, legalized sports wagering. The New Jersey law in no way authorized gambling in any other states or outside the country’s borders.
Conversely, 1373 applies nationally and involves the enforcement of federal law. State and local law enforcement can’t be made to enforce immigration law over their objections, but supplying information to federal officials allowing them to most efficiently do their jobs isn’t the same as making them go out and start arresting illegal aliens. It seems doubtful that the Supreme Court was seeking to expand interpretations of 10th amendment rights to the point where all federal laws would become meaningless at the whim of the states. An appeal will most likely be required and the Supremes may need to come back with a clarification of their ruling in Murphy.