Last month, trying to strike while the iron was hot, some members of Congress – most notably Chuck Grassley – drafted legislation to reign in the so called “sanctuary cities” where illegal immigrants are regularly released back into the wild. This takes place in many cases unless there is some definitive indication that they are currently engaged in a murder spree. It will frequently happen even if federal immigration officials asked for them to be held for deportation. The Democrats have been calling this new legislation the Donald Trump Act, in an ironic attempt at an insult, even while Trump himself was happy to take credit for all the support such an initiative received in conservative circles.
It’s still unclear if any version of such a bill will make it into law, but liberal enclaves are bracing for the changes to come in case they do. The Daily Iowan reports some of the “concerns” that they are dealing with now.
Locally, the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office policy of refusing to hold suspects requested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials would put it at risk of losing certain federal grants under bills proposed by Grassley and Republican colleagues in the House.
While “sanctuary city” is a loose term, it has been used to apply to cities such as New York City and San Francisco, which have specific laws aimed at undocumented immigrants, and more broadly to other jurisdictions that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities…
Johnson County Sheriff Lt. John Good defended his department’s policy from criticism rooted in the San Francisco case. He said complying with federal immigration officials would mean potentially violating the civil liberties of a suspect.
“We don’t want to house them any longer than we need to,” he said.
Keeping people suspected of being undocumented, Good said, would put the department at risk of violating a suspect’s civil liberties, which could, in turn, put the county at risk of a lawsuit. Those concerns led the department to change its policy in May 2014.
This line of reasoning completely boggles my mind. If someone is a citizen or otherwise in the country legally, they should be able to prove that in fairly short order. And assuming they are and have not broken any laws, you don’t need to worry about “holding them” for an excessive period of time. If they are in the country illegally, why are you wringing your hands over threats of lawsuits and their “civil liberties” during detention? They are criminals by virtue of being in the country. If there is probable cause to believe that they have been involved in some sort of violent crime you should be holding them whether they are a citizen or not. This isn’t long division.
Still, other lines of defense are being mounted by liberal supporters of free range criminals. One example comes to us from Lolita Brayman and George P. Mann at the Detroit News. Their law firm doesn’t want Washington to start randomly criminalizing people. (Emphasis added)
At our law offices we don’t have many cases of people coming from Ann Arbor or Detroit, being pulled over and then asked about their immigration status. According to our clients from Waterford and Rochester, however, this kind of profiling is a problem.
Can these patterns be attributed to a city’s status as a “sanctuary” jurisdiction? Or is it simply because Ann Arbor and Detroit are more ethnically and racially diverse than other Michigan cities?
The current debate criminalizes immigrants unfairly and local law enforcement will suffer in Detroit and Ann Arbor, among other “sanctuary cities.” The proposed bills are inconsistent with trust-building initiatives between police and immigrant communities, which have been shown to support overall public safety. If officers begin alerting immigration agents when undocumented people are arrested, frightened immigrant communities will stop reporting crimes.
It’s arguments such as these (and I see a lot of them) which make me want to bash my head against my desk and ask the authors where they managed to obtain law degrees. Nobody is criminalizing legal immigrants. They can do all the same things as everyone else within the bounds of the law. And it is impossible to “criminalize” an illegal immigrant because – take a deep breath and see if you can follow along now – They. Are. Already. Criminals.
Is this really all that hard to understand? What part of it remains unclear? Seriously… let’s stop fighting against legislation to bring these “sanctuary cities” into compliance with federal law and maybe… just maybe… we can stop one or two more cases like that of Kathryn Steinle.