‘Sanctuary cities’ vow to continue shielding illegal immigrants from deportation

UPDATE — 11/16, 5:30 p.m. EST:  Local officials in Los Angeles and Boston have added their cities to the list of jurisdictions that say they will refuse to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement despite Donald Trump’s threats to cut off DOJ funding.

Specifically, L.A. Police Department Chief Charlie Beck and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said recently their cities will stay the course and continue to allow illegal immigrants in their jurisdictions.

“We are not going to engage in law enforcement activities solely based on somebody’s immigration status,” Beck said Monday. “We are not going to work in conjunction with Homeland Security on deportation efforts. That is not our job, nor will I make it our job.”

 

With Donald Trump’s assumed election to the White House last Tuesday and subsequent comments made by the New York businessman within the last week, mayors from at least seven major “sanctuary cities” have signaled that they plan to continue non-enforcement policies in regards to illegal immigration.

Currently, an estimated 300 local governments across America have at least some built-in protections for unlawful immigrants. These “sanctuary” policies include: not informing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) when illegal aliens are detained or released from jail; rules banning civil servants and law enforcement officials from performing background checks on people to verify their legal status; and in some cases, like San Francisco and Chicago, allowing illegal immigrants to benefit from government services and even granting them identification cards.

To-date, the mayors of New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Seattle, Providence, R.I., and Newark, N.J., have all said they will continue protecting illegal persons and not enforce federal immigration laws.

On the 2016 campaign trail, now-President-elect Trump vowed to crack down on sanctuary cities by cutting off federal funds to local governments that refuse to cooperate with ICE. However, actually carrying out his pledge will be more difficult than it sounds. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in the past that any conditional terms attached to money appropriated by Congress must be related to the purpose the funds are used for.

Despite the legal precedent in regard to congressional funding, a memo released by the Justice Department’s inspector general earlier this year said that some sanctuary cities are violating federal law by prohibiting government employees from communicating with ICE and that these jurisdictions are eligible to lose DOJ funds.

Despite the warning, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced to the press Monday that the Windy City “is, it always will be, a sanctuary city.”

“To all those who are, after Tuesday’s election, very nervous . . . you are safe in Chicago,” he continued. “You are secure in Chicago and you are supported in Chicago. . . . The city continues to provide services and your ability to access those services will always be there.”

In Donald Trump’s first televised interview since Tuesday, Nov. 8, on “60 Minutes” Sunday, the president-elect gave a detailed answer about his immigration enforcement policy.

“What we are going to do is get the people that are criminal and have criminal records, gang members, drug dealers, we have a lot of these people, probably two million, it could be even three million, we are getting them out of our country or we are going to incarcerate,” he said.

Such ICE deportation forces have been deployed during the Obama administration, but not to the extent proposed by the president-elect. Americans, and more particularly Trump supporters, will have to wait and see if the federal government has the wherewithal to carry out the monumental task of forcibly removing millions of criminal aliens.

 

[AP] [CBS Chicago] [CBS News] [Los Angeles Times] [CBS Boston] [Photo courtesy Mark Hoffman/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

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