In California, sanctuary cities may just give way to a sanctuary state

This may be one of those good news, bad news stories. The good news is that Donald Trump may not have to worry about sanctuary cities in California any more. The bad news is that the left coast denizens may just turn the whole darn thing into a sanctuary state. At least that’s the latest word coming from their state legislature. (Associated Press)

Democrats in the California Senate ramped up their fight Tuesday against President Donald Trump, advancing bills that would create a statewide sanctuary for people in the country illegally, provide money to pay lawyers for immigrants facing deportation and hamper any attempt to create a Muslim registry.

The moves in the nation’s largest state — home to an estimated 2.3 million immigrants without legal authorization — came days after Trump launched his crackdown on immigration and sanctuary cities across the nation.

The city of San Francisco sued Trump on Tuesday, claiming his executive order that would cut funding from sanctuary cities is unconstitutional and a “severe invasion of San Francisco’s sovereignty.”

That last comment regarding the City by the Bay highlights where a lot of this unrest is coming from. The Mayor of San Francisco has been making the rounds of local radio, talking about a plan which seems to have been hatched by Eric Holder (in his new capacity as the Golden State’s chief warrior against Trump) and it’s gaining traction in liberal circles. We had a bit of foreshadowing of this strategy last week, as reported in the New York Times.

An hour after the president signed the order, a group of California state senators said they planned to fight it in court, with help from Eric H. Holder Jr., former attorney general, whom the Legislature has retained to take on what the senators said they expected would be continued fights with the Trump administration. They said Mr. Trump’s order violated the 10th Amendment by forcing local governments to enforce federal statutes.

There’s some real irony in Holder’s approach because the Tenth Amendment is one which is generally either forgotten or despised by liberals in most cases. States’ rights is an issue which is almost exclusively near and dear to the hearts of conservatives. But now that Trump is talking about bringing the hammer down on cities which defy the laws of the land it’s suddenly becoming critical to the health of the democracy. Go figure.

Also, this is a fairly broad interpretation of the amendment to put it mildly. Article I, Section 8 of the Con­stitution charges Congress with the responsibility to “establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization.” Much of the details are left to the Executive branch as to how that’s enforced. At no point does the Constitution mention giving the states the right to overrule the federal government on immigration law. Similarly, the states have a lot of control over which state and local laws to pass and/or enforce, but they do not have the ability to simply break federal immigration law.

I’d love to see this one battled out in court and get a modern era ruling putting the question to bed. In the meantime, California stands to lose a massive amount of federal funding if they choose to go down this path, unless of course they can successfully challenge that in court as well. The SCOTUS has, in fact, ruled in the past that Washington can’t simply remove unrelated funding arbitrarily as punishment, but there’s plenty of law enforcement funding which would probably be on the table. It’s going to be a long and interesting ride from here on out.