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A look at the executive order on sanctuary cities

Thursday, Jan 26, 2017

* There’s been a lot of media coverage today about the president’s sanctuary city executive order. The Daily Line takes a closer look than most outlets have

Much of the executive order requires an act of Congress. Legal experts we spoke to said the parts of the order directing federal agencies to take action are within the purview of an executive order, but sections ordering states and municipalities to take action would require an act of Congress.

Some legal experts believe only federal grants related to the issue at hand can be revoked. This Yale Law & Policy Review [article] argues that only federal spending on germane programs, in this case, immigration enforcement, can be threatened. In other words, if Chicago and Cook County didn’t follow immigration laws, only public safety grants estimated by the Center for Tax and Budget at $78 million, could be threatened. Other programs, such as aid for homeless services and community block grants, which are part of the city’s overall share of federal aid, would not be affected. Those total $1.3 billion, per CTBA calculations.

Even if a law were passed, a 2012 Supreme Court case related to Obamacare might limit enforcement. In NFIB v. Sebelius, the Affordable Care Act originally contained an expansion of Medicaid, which states had to accept in order to receive any federal funds for Medicaid. The Supreme Court found that threat was a “gun to the head” and overly-coercive, ruling that the federal government could not make such a threat for the sake of enforcing a policy.

The order is about sharing information about immigrants, not forcing local police to seek and detain immigrants. “Sanctuary cities” is not an established legal term, but loosely refers to many aspects of immigration law. The executive order relates to 8 U.S.C. 1373, a law ordering “state and local jurisdictions to share information about individuals’ immigration status with federal authorities,” says Rebecca Glenberg from the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois. “This doesn’t say anything about state and local governments complying with ICE detainer requests, which is a large part of what is often meant by sanctuary.” The information the federal government would be allowed to access through the executive order is significant, such as a gang database the Chicago Police Department keeps, says Glenberg. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) could use that list to identify lawbreakers they want to detain and deport.

The order makes big changes in law enforcement priorities for immigration, eliminating “humanitarian factors”. Again, these do not pertain to Illinois, Cook County or Chicago law enforcement agencies, but the new priorities mean big changes for federal law enforcement agencies. “Now it says anyone who is deportable is a priority. It’s taking away some of the discretional ability law enforcement previously had, how they devote resources,” says Mony Ruiz-Velasco, an immigration attorney and activist with Paso Action. Those changes, Ruiz-Velasco says, will have a sweeping impact, since some immigrants don’t know they have a deportation order against them, and could have had one for years. In addition, existing federal law says any immigrant charged with a crime of any kind–even a misdemeanor–should be deported immediately. In the past, federal law enforcement agencies had the ability to pick and choose which ones they’d deport. For instance, Obama-era rules told ICE agents to ignore deportation orders before 2014, says Ruiz-Velasco, because many orders were poorly recorded and immigrants often didn’t get notification. Now federal agents can and must deport immigrants under much broader circumstances.

Chicago and Cook County lack enforcement agreements with the feds on immigration. A significant portion of the order directs state and local law enforcement agencies to assist with enforcing immigration laws, especially organizations with so-called 287(g) agreements “to provide federal law enforcement to train local law enforcement, and to increase collaboration on immigration enforcement,” according to Ruiz-Velasco. But many of the agreements, along with another program called “Secure Communities” were created during the early Obama Administration and were allowed to lapse because it caused, “a huge increase of racial profiling, people arrested for pretextual stuff, [who were] then turned over to immigration [authorities]. People were unconstitutionally detained, which local law enforcement remained liable for,” says Ruiz-Velasco. Neither Chicago nor Cook County have 287(g) agreements, says Ruiz-Velasco, so this component of the order will not have a local impact.

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- Posted by Rich Miller        

21 Comments
  1. - Anon - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 10:29 am:

    I’m uncomfortable with the concept of federalization of state and local law enforcement for the enforcement of inherently xenophobic laws.

    I’m astonished that this is even being seriously advanced and supported by the folks that have been screaming about over reach.


  2. - Amalia - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 10:32 am:

    with the Shadow Cabinet following everything in the agencies closely, do we really think that Trump will let something like the law stop him from shutting down the flow of money? Who would stop him if he just said no? the courts? He’s about to add another conservative to the high court. can the planned Dem filibuster work? will that make a difference? there seems to be precious little that can stop him from his litany of horrible decisions. Resist, but it is getting more difficult to figure out how.


  3. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 10:35 am:

    That’s one reason why it’s foolish to jump and scream at every Trump Tweet. Half the time what he inarticulately, incoherently blasts out of his digital mouth is uninformed, un-thoughtful, half-baked, unenforceable gibberish you’d expect from someone with a child-like understanding of federal law and policy.

    More Republicans need to call him out on this stuff though. They know he’s in way over his head and possibly dangerous. It’d be nice if some others joined McCain and Graham and put the country ahead of their party for once.


  4. - cdog - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 10:40 am:

    Good article sample. Thanks for posting it.

    My family is glad that there is a real chance that violent criminals, who are not American citizens, will be aggressively processed.

    I think Obama did a pretty good job deporting the not so worthy, but he did not solve the problem of harboring created by the “sanctuary city” agenda.

    Trump will get it done. This is a start.


  5. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 10:43 am:

    I wish the word immigrant was not substituted for illegal/undocumented immigrant. We are all immigrants or the descendants of and there is an absolute difference.

    Furthermore, harboring criminals in sanctuary cities and keeping law enforcement from detaining and arresting them…………can I, as a citizen commit a crime and then seek refuge in one of these cities? Why do I have fewer rights than illegals?


  6. - Carhartt Representative - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 10:44 am:

    If I were Mayor DeBlasio, I would send Trump a bill for the million dollars a day that the added Trump Tower security is costing New York City.


  7. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 10:53 am:

    What 47 said.

    The executive orders to date are mostly some quick red-meat for the base.

    But it ain’t steak, more like Buddig 2-oz packs.


  8. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 11:11 am:

    –..as a citizen commit a crime and then seek refuge in one of these cities? –

    Are you sure you’re from this country? You’re awfully confused about the difference between civil and criminal offenses in the United States.

    Quick — what’s the seat of Lincoln County, IL?

    No answer? I thought so…..


  9. - CEA - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 11:27 am:

    @Carhartt Representative: DeBlasio has been pushing for payment since early December. I don’t know what the over/under is on when he will get a check, but I’d bet the over.


  10. - About Time - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 12:00 pm:

    By what right does Chicago defy Federal laws? The city has been doing this since Mayor Washington’s time. A local ordinance cannot override a Federal law.


  11. - Corncob - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 12:07 pm:

    Word, even you should understand the difference between legal and illegal immigration.


  12. - Corncob - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 12:12 pm:

    Do you, Wordslinger:

    http://litigation.findlaw.com/filing-a-lawsuit/civil-cases-vs-criminal-cases-key-differences.html

    I fail to see how violation of federal immigration law is a civil case.


  13. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 12:23 pm:

    ===I fail to see how violation of federal immigration law is a civil case.===

    Do they lock you up for it? In an American prison? On American soil? Wouldn’t serving jail time also add to the length of time a person is “illegally” in this country?

    Typically, if you’re not facing jail time, it’s not considered a criminal offense. And if someone hasn’t been convicted of a crime, they are not criminals.

    Words have meaning Corncob.


  14. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 12:25 pm:

    Corn, I bet you fail to see lots of things you don’t like.

    Unlawful entry is a crime. That would be crossing the border without a lawful visa.

    I don’t think Chicago coppers are patrolling the border checking visas. And overstaying a visa is not a criminal offense.

    Unlawful presence is a federal civil offense.

    Look it up, if you’re interested. I’m not your eighth grade teacher.


  15. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 12:54 pm:

    Capitol of Lincoln Co? Must be LincolnPark.


  16. - Sue - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 1:10 pm:

    We are either a country where laws are respected or were not. If sanctuary cities want to ignore the requirements to cooperate with the Feds then they should be willing to forego federal funds. This issue like everything else is red vs blue. I doubt there are any republican sanctuary strongholds. As unfortunate as it may seem we Jody had a president representing half of the Country and now we have one representing the other half-Madness


  17. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 1:14 pm:

    ===I doubt there are any republican sanctuary strongholds.===

    I’m pretty sure the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge was one, at least for several months. Lol. I think Wyoming is another.


  18. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 1:42 pm:

    It’s apparent that these mayors are going to continue to refuse to cooperate with the I.C.E. requests to detain the illegals in their custody. Trump should simply say he will be ordering his agents to round up X amount of illegals in these cities/counties every week/month etc. As soon as Rahm, DeBlasio, and everybody else want to start complying with the I.C.E. requests he could stop the deportation force. Let Rahm choose if he wants to protect people already in custody at the expense of the otherwise law-abiding illegals.


  19. - CornCob - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 4:00 pm:

    ** Unlawful entry is a crime. That would be crossing the border without a lawful visa. **

    Which is what most of them do.

    ** Look it up, if you’re interested. I’m not your eighth grade teacher. **

    No, but your constant insults to those you disagree with make you look like an 8th grade student.


  20. - Veil of Ignorance - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 5:55 pm:

    As a 2nd generation child of immigrants, I find some of the comments here deeply troubling. First of all, a person isn’t “illegal.” This is a term to intentionally dehumanize a whole class of people, who work, contribute to our communities, and yes pay taxes too (billions in fact). Secondly, immigration is a federal matter, not a state one. This isn’t treating immigrants better than citizens; it’s allowing the criminal justice system to operate without federal civil immigration law enforcement interrupting due process. Besides, we are all less safe when community members are afraid to dial 911 or engage police because they fear deportation. Finally, there is a long history in our nation and other countries of scapegoating immigrants. This is the lowest form of politics and folks who don’t see the racial angle of this are sadly engaging in willful blindness as to what’s really going on. I urge others to resist these efforts and what will likely go down as one of the uglier period in our nation’s history. As a reminder, Monday is Fred Korematsu Day.


  21. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 10:38 pm:

    ** Unlawful entry is a crime. That would be crossing the border without a lawful visa. **

    Which is what most of them do.–

    And if they are caught doing so, they can be charged with a criminal offense.

    After the fact, not having papers in the United States is a civil, not a criminal, offense.

    It’s called due-process. It’s an American thing, comrade.

    –** Look it up, if you’re interested. I’m not your eighth grade teacher. **

    No, but your constant insults to those you disagree with make you look like an 8th grade student.=

    No, it means you don’t have the energy or initiative to hit the google for 30 seconds to educate yourself on an issue that you claim to be important to you.

    Yet you think Mexicans who get up early every day and bust their humps as line cooks, dry wallers, roofers, maids, etc., are holding you back.

    You’re no victim pal, except of your own willful ignorance and self-pity.


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