For Sanctuary Cities, Clock Strikes Midnight

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By Joe Guzzardi

Joe is a CAPS Senior Writing Fellow whose commentaries about California's social issues have run in newspapers throughout California and the country for nearly 30 years. Contact Joe at joeguzzardi@capsweb.org, or find him on Twitter @joeguzzardi19.

The writer's views are his own.

July 27, 2017
clock about to strike midnight
DOJ dropping hammer on sanctuary cities.

The Department of Justice officially published a new list of conditions that applicants for Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program will have to satisfy to receive funding, problematic for sanctuary cities.

Municipalities must:

Certify compliance with section 1373, a federal statute applicable to state and local governments that generally bars restrictions on communications between state and local agencies and officials at the Department of Homeland Security.

Permit personnel of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) to access any detention facility in order to meet with an alien and inquire as to his or her right to be or remain in the United States.

Provide at least 48 hours advance notice to DHS regarding the scheduled release date and time of an alien in the jurisdiction’s custody when DHS requests such notice in order to take custody of the alien.

This means that the most egregious sanctuary city criminal alien defenders---Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose and other major cities in California and nationwide---will have to choose between receiving federal money they rely on to train and upgrade local law enforcement or maintaining unpopular sanctuary policies.

The cities are certain to mount swamp politics court challenges against the DOJ’s mandate. In April, a San Francisco federal judge put a temporary hold on parts of President Donald Trump’s January executive order that would restore interior enforcement that had eroded during the Obama administration. Judge William Orrick ruled that while the administration’s efforts to withhold funds is constitutional, if carried out it would inflict “immediate irreparable harm.”

But, crucially, according to Orrick’s spokesman, his ruling concluded that “The department [DOJ] will continue to enforce existing grant conditions and will continue to enforce 8 U.S.C. 1373. Further, the order does not purport to enjoin the department’s independent legal authority to enforce the requirements of federal law applicable to communities that violate federal immigration law or federal grant conditions.”

Consistently overlooked in the debate surrounding sanctuary cities is that while immigration advocates are in favor, the average citizen, even in liberal California, strongly opposes harboring criminal aliens.

The University of California conducted an online survey which polled 1,098 residents, and found that 74 percent of respondents said local authorities should not ignore a federal request to hold a detained illegal immigrant. Sanctuary city opposition was bipartisan; 73 percent of Democrats, 82 percent of Republicans and 71 percent of independents want local authorities to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

California’s sanctuary state, SB 54, bill still looms. Take action now to block SB 54. Go to the CAPS Action Alert page here to tell your Assemblyman to reject SB 54, and make the state a sanctuary for its citizens and legal permanent residents. Watch the CAPS TV ad here, and read the accompanying press release here.

Californians and non-Californians can also sign a petition here that will be delivered to the Senate and urge it to pass HR 3003, the “No Sanctuary for Criminals Act” that the House approved earlier this summer. 
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