Tuesday, March 28, 2017

She Sells Sanctuary

White House To States: Shield Illegals and Lose Police Funding:

The Trump administration, signaling its intent to toughen enforcement of immigration laws across the country, threatened on Monday to withhold or revoke law enforcement funding from states, cities and localities that block the police or sheriffs from telling federal authorities about undocumented immigrants in their custody.
In an announcement at the White House, Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions said state and local governments seeking certain law enforcement grants would have to certify that they were complying with a law that bars any official from withholding information from the Department of Homeland Security about a person’s immigration status. Those that are violating the policy could see such grants clawed back, he said.
Mr. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions’s appearance was an effort to threaten painful consequences for so-called sanctuary cities, those that decline to cooperate with the federal government in efforts to track and deport undocumented immigrants.
“I strongly urge our nation’s states and cities and counties to consider carefully the harm they are doing to their citizens by refusing to enforce our immigration laws and to rethink these policies,” Mr. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions said. “Such policies make their cities and states less safe — public safety as well as national security are at stake — and put them at risk of losing federal dollars.”
The larger cities don't really give a shit, however, so the threat is both empty and idle ("Bye Felicia" keeps rolling through my dome).
A 2014 law in New York City that restricts the corrections department from telling Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials about an inmate’s release date, incarceration status or coming court dates unless the inmate was the subject of a detainer request supported by a judicial warrant. As a result, the report said, ICE closed its office on Rikers Island.
New York received about $53 million — a tiny fraction of its budget — from the Justice Department in the most recent fiscal year, according to City Hall officials. Much of that funding goes to the police and corrections departments for the police crime lab; ballistic helmets and vests for officers; crime prevention programs; drug and gang task forces; and the like.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement that the “latest threat” from the Trump administration “changes nothing” in New York. “Any attempt to cut N.Y.P.D. funding for the nation’s top terror target will be aggressively fought in court,” he said.
“It’s simply outrageous that the Trump administration and their ICE agents are putting politics and scapegoating of immigrants ahead of public safety and the ability of local communities to decide how best to keep their communities safe,” said Frank Sharry, the executive director of America’s Voice Education Fund.
Eric T. Schneiderman, the New York attorney general, called Mr. Trump’s approach “draconian.”
“Despite what Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions implied this afternoon, state and local governments and law enforcement have broad authority under the Constitution to not participate in federal immigration enforcement,” he said.
That's because the Constitution specifically mandates that law enforcement matters be left to the states/regions/cities, and not the federal government per se. This was designed to prevent, you know, a madman from taking over the country and mobilizing a "federal police force" against the people.

Of course, the federal government has a long history of meddling in local law enforcement, going back to the 1960's and 70's and the expansion of the LEAA which created the War on Drugs. This led to the War on Immigrants and Defense Department equipment being funneled to local pd's in the 90's, and then really accelerated post-9/11 in the War on Terror to militarize, expand surveillance, and create the garrison state we live in today. 

But what sanctuary cities, counties and states are saying is, you can take your money and shove it, we're not participating in any more of your immigrant crackdowns. And that doesn't sit too well with this administration in particular.

You can almost see the line of opposition coalescing around a "Why does Trump hate law enforcement so much?" or "Why is Trump so weak on terror?" line. Anytime you start cutting funding to law enforcement, you're playing with fire politically.

For the smaller counties and departments, I can see how this kind of muscle might get them to cave and cooperate. But again, for the larger cities and metropolitan areas, where the bulk of the War on Immigration is being fought, the administration's threats are meaningless and silly.

Meddling in local law enforcement is going to come at a price. And it's the Feds, in this case, who are going to lose more than the states/local departments.

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