New York Times
By Mike McPhate
January 26, 2017
President Trump began rolling out his plans to aggressively transform the nation’s immigration laws on Wednesday, signing a pair of executive orders — one called for the start of construction of a wall along the border with Mexico and the other demanded holding back federal money from so-called sanctuary cities.
And the reaction in California was swift, strong and unified: Elected officials from all over the state blasted the president’s orders.
Just an hour after President Trump spoke at the Department of Homeland Security, State Senate Democrats held a news conference in Sacramento, announcing that they were prepared to take the fight over sanctuary cities to court. Earlier this month, the Democratic-led Legislature hired former Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to represent them in any legal battle with the White House. They said Mr. Trump’s order violated the 10th Amendment by forcing local governments to enforce federal statutes.
“These are spiteful and meanspirited directives that will only instill fear in the hearts of millions of people who pay taxes, contribute to the economy and our way of life,” Kevin de Leon, the Democratic leader of the State Senate, said. “Singling out cities and states with threats is unconstitutional. It’s not the job of our local and county and state law enforcement to turn the cogs of President Trump’s deportation machine. He cannot force us, and we will not hesitate to fight him in Congress and settle the matter in court.”
By some definitions, the entire state of California is a sanctuary state. A law passed in 2014 prohibits local jails from holding immigrants any longer than required by criminal law, with exceptions for violent and other serious crimes. And most counties in the state also prohibit holding immigrants beyond their sentence if federal immigration agents do not have a judicial order. And legislation currently making its way through the Legislature would further expand the law, by prohibiting all state and local law enforcement agencies to respond to requests from immigration authorities.
The mayors of San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland and Berkeley released a joint statement vowing to keep their existing policies in place. Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles, who has long shied away from the term sanctuary city, said the Police Department would continue its four-decades-old policy that prohibits officers from questioning people for the purpose of determining their immigration status and arresting them for illegal entry to the United States.
“We all want a nation of laws, but we are also a nation of immigrants,” Mayor Garcetti said in a brief interview. “I think we’re better than this,” he added.
How the executive order will play out over the next several years remains murky.
Q. and A.: Sanctuary Cities
Ingrid Eagly, a professor at U.C.L.A., specializes in immigration law. We caught up with her via email to ask how clashes between leaders of sanctuary cities and the federal government might unfold.
• What obstacles could the federal government face to cutting off funds to sanctuary cities?
Trump will face massive political resistance and challenges in the courts. The Supreme Court has made clear it is the exclusive function of the federal government to enforce immigration laws. Coercing states and localities to perform these functions would also be constitutionally suspect under the 10th Amendment, which safeguards states’ rights.
• How painful could the cuts be?
The president has not identified the source of funds at issue. Nor has an amount been specified. He has indicated that he plans to revive a program, commonly known as 287(g), that could provide additional funding to localities that partner with immigration authorities. But participation in the program is voluntary and known to divert resources from local law enforcement priorities.
• How would sanctuary jurisdictions be defined?
The president’s order doesn’t say. Trump has suggested he defines them as jurisdictions that fail to honor immigration detainers. However, federal courts have found that such detentions violate Fourth Amendment protections against unlawful search and seizure.
For more information, go to: www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com