Last week we looked at a new court maneuver that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was bringing against New York City and other so-called “sanctuary cities.” The refusal of these places to provide information on criminal illegal aliens who were released from jail with a pending ICE detainer despite having been served with subpoenas has clearly angered the agency. One ICE official was prompted to inform the leadership in Gotham that the subpoenas were “not a request,” but a demand.
Since both New York City and Denver, Colorado have still done nothing more than to say they are “reviewing” the subpoenas, the acting Director of ICE upped the ante this week. He’s informed both cities that if the subpoenas are not answered promptly he will be taking the responsible persons to district court. And when they show up, he advised them to “bring a toothbrush” because they might not be going home that night. (Washington Examiner)
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is prepared to go to court with two “sanctuary cities,” New York City, New York, and Denver, Colorado, if they fail to provide personal information on illegal immigrants with criminal records released in each city instead of being transferred to ICE.
“We expect them to comply” with subpoenas for the information, said acting ICE Director Matt Albence at a press conference in Washington on Thursday. “If they don’t comply, we’ll be working with DOJ to go to district court to force them to comply with the requirements,” Albence said, noting the rule in the U.S. Code that he said justified the move. “The individuals that fail to comply can be held in contempt,” he said. “They can show up to court with a toothbrush because they might not be going home that night. Because they could be jailed for failure to comply with a lawful order from a judge. That’s the route we’re going.”
The self-defeating nature of these sanctuary city policies should be evident to everyone. To put this issue in perspective, last year ICE issued 7,500 requests to the New York City Department of Corrections, asking them to hold known illegal aliens put in local jails for pickup. Not one of the detainers was honored. Meanwhile, the recidivism rate among these criminal illegal aliens is disturbingly high, with some going on to commit murder or assault.
What’s not yet clear is precisely who would have to answer the summons in each city if they fail to comply. The Commissioner of the New York City Department of Corrections is Cynthia Brann. Would she be required to personally show up in court and answer these charges? Given both her age and her position, jail might not be a terribly safe place for her. It’s also unclear how much she would know about the situation since she so rarely shows up for work. She handed over the reins of her department to an acting commissioner a whopping 151 days in her first two years in office.
Depending on the judges who handle these cases, ICE should have a strong argument to make in court. By refusing to cooperate and turn over suspects in the safe, controlled environment of a jail, ICE agents are forced to go seek out illegal aliens at their homes or places of illegal employment. Neither side in this debate benefits from such a result. The agents potentially face more dangerous confrontations when doing this and if the ICE agents happen to find more illegal aliens in the home or place of business, they’ll frequently pick them up as well. That’s how the situation can snowball into impromptu “raids” that activists love to complain about.
This is a showdown that’s been a long time coming and perhaps will provide some clarification for other municipalities going forward. The first time we see video of a Department of Corrections Commissioner being frog-marched off to a cell in handcuffs, the rest of these sanctuary cities might think twice.