8 U.S. Code 1373

Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke at the White House Press Briefing a week or so ago. His subject was sanctuary cities. As I’ve written before, I think that sanctuary cities are discriminating against the American felon. Foreign criminals get special treatment that the sanctuary cities deny to American criminals. How can that possibly be legal?

I also think that letting illegal foreign criminals of any stripe go free is madness. Fortunately, President Trump is already ending the “catch-and-release” policy of Comrade Obama.

sanct i

In any case, I was intrigued by the Attorney General’s reference to “8 USC 1373” as being the relevant statute. The “USC” part stands for “United States Code”, meaning Federal law codes. The odd part was that he mentioned 8 USC 1373 a couple times in his speech. To me, that was a giant red flag. He was semaphoring a message, and I wondered what it was.

Now, I expected the law in question to say that cities cannot release people where there is a “Detainer” from Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE). I was quite surprised. It had nothing at all to do with that.

Instead, it is much, much more far-reaching. It also seems to open up officials in cities and states to prosecution, although it is not clear whether this would be criminal or civil. Curiously, as near as I can tell no punishment is prescribed for breaking the law. Not sure what’s happening there. In any case, here’s the law:

8 U.S. Code § 1373 – Communication between government agencies and the Immigration and Naturalization Service

Current through Pub. L. 114-38. (See Public Laws for the current Congress.)

(a) In general

Notwithstanding any other provision of Federal, State, or local law, a Federal, State, or local government entity or official may not prohibit, or in any way restrict, any government entity or official from sending to, or receiving from, the Immigration and Naturalization Service information regarding the citizenship or immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of any individual.

(b) Additional authority of government entities Notwithstanding any other provision of Federal, State, or local law, no person or agency may prohibit, or in any way restrict, a Federal, State, or local government entity from doing any of the following with respect to information regarding the immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of any individual:

(1) Sending such information to, or requesting or receiving such information from, the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

(2) Maintaining such information.

(3) Exchanging such information with any other Federal, State, or local government entity.


As I said, I was surprised. Nothing to do with felons, or letting people out of prison. What this says is that you cannot prohibit or restrict any government entity or office or individual from COMMUNICATING with ICE. And that is regardless of any other provision of Federal, State or Local law.

The reason that I think that this is highly significant is that when they are enunciated, the sanctuary city specifically prohibits communication with ICE … the very act that is made illegal under 8 USC 1373. Here’s San Francisco’s ordinance

SEC. 12H.2. USE OF CITY FUNDS PROHIBITED. No department, agency, commission, officer, or employee of the City and County of San Francisco shall use any City funds or resources to assist in the enforcement of Federal immigration law or to gather or disseminate information regarding release status of individuals or any other such personal information as defined in Chapter 12I in the City and County of San Francisco unless such assistance is required by Federal or State statute, regulation, or court decision.

The prohibition set forth in this Chapter 12H shall include, but shall not be limited to:

(a) Assisting or cooperating, in one’s official capacity, with any investigation, detention, or arrest procedures, public or clandestine, conducted by the Federal agency charged with enforcement of the Federal immigration law and relating to alleged violations of the civil provisions of the Federal immigration law, except as permitted under Administrative Code Section 12I.3.

(b) Assisting or cooperating, in one’s official capacity, with any investigation, surveillance, or gathering of information conducted by foreign governments, except for cooperation related to an alleged violation of City and County, State, or Federal criminal laws.

(c) Requesting information about, or disseminating information, in one’s official capacity, regarding the release status of any individual or any other such personal information as defined in Chapter 12I, except as permitted under Administrative Code Section 12I.3, or conditioning the provision of services or benefits by the City and County of San Francisco upon immigration status, except as required by Federal or State statute or regulation, City and County public assistance criteria, or court decision.

(d) Including on any application, questionnaire, or interview form used in relation to benefits, services, or opportunities provided by the City and County of San Francisco any question regarding immigration status other than those required by Federal or State statute, regulation, or court decision. Any such questions existing or being used by the City and County at the time this Chapter is adopted shall be deleted within sixty days of the adoption of this Chapter.

My conclusion from this? I am not a lawyer, but the San Francisco Sanctuary City Ordinance certainly seems to be in violation of 8 USC 1373. The City is clearly restricting its employees from communicating with ICE.

Having said that, I saw that the Appeals Court said it could consider Trump’s campaign speeches in interpreting the law … given that, I see no limit to what some judge might think is legal.

Me, I’m waiting for the next shoe to drop …

Here, the sun is shining, and I’m getting ready to go surf Frigates Passage in Fiji in a couple weeks ’cause I’m sworn to surf it at 70 … life is good.


29 thoughts on “8 U.S. Code 1373

  1. I’ve wondered about the ‘not allowed to communicate’ approach to this mess.

    Detainers are nice in that ICE doesn’t have to be there immediately, but if a particular jurisdiction is not going to honor detainers, and ICE knows about it, they can work around it by being at the door to arrest the person directly.

    Which then will lead to situations like the Judge who provided the ‘person of interest’ with a way out of the courthouse so that they didn’t need to go past where the ICE agents were waiting.

    At that point there is no longer an argument that the jurisdiction is just not wanting to expend resources to assist the Feds, they are at the point of actively impeding the Feds. It’s a lot harder to force the line troops to actively work against the Feds than it is to try and forbid them from cooperating.


    • Fascinating, Steve. I like this one:

      Encouraging/Inducing — Subsection 1324(a)(1)(A)(iv) makes it an offense for any person who — encourages or induces an alien to come to, enter, or reside in the United States, knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that such coming to, entry, or residence is or will be in violation of law.

      Hasn’t Rahm Emanuel violated this one?


      Liked by 2 people

  2. “I saw that the Appeals Court said it could consider Trump’s campaign speeches in interpreting the law…”

    One of the hypocritical aspects of this (absurd) justification for a partisan judicial ruling is that a judge claims to use campaign speeches to tell what Trump’s motives are when he issues an executive order, yet he apparently makes no effort whatsoever to determine what Trump’s motives were when making the campaign speeches in question. This is especially relevant because campaign speeches are well-known to not literally represent the actual beliefs or positions of a candidate.


  3. Attorney General Jeff Sessions should instruct the US attorneys to begin actions rapidly in Boston, Miami, and Seattle and work generally toward California. SF can be designated as the last city in which actions will be taken. Criminals will be allowed to go there for the time being, as they and SF wish.


  4. Never understood why the sanctuary city thing, or illegal alien thing, ever existed aside from undermining our country and way of life in general. Same holds true for voter ID resistance. You have to have an ID of some sort, if you are a citizen of this country, and of voting age, period.

    We don’t need walls to end this type of issue. We just need to eliminate the incentives for such and it will clean itself up.


    • I can’t understand it either, but it must be obvious to the left. Is there anything published by the left which explains it or promotes it? I would think only anarchists would support it.

      I like JD Ohio’s comment at Lucia’s blog:

      To me the most harmful effect of large-scale illegal immigration is that it makes it impossible to have a functioning, reasonably objective legal system. The only way that a reasonably functioning legal system can work is if the people under it have some significant semblance of shared values. It is impossible to write laws to cover every possible contingency. There must be a shared value system underlying a legal system or code, or there will be no law as we have traditionally applied it and designed it in the US. If we have very large numbers of people from different cultures and no predominant culture or shared belief system that is considered to be legitimate then it is impossible to have a legal system.
      The sanctuary city movement is emblematic of this. Those in sanctuary cities see no morality in restricting entry into the US and will refuse to enforce legitimately enacted laws because these laws offend their moral code and political beliefs.

      Now not even the judges have a shared value system. Are we witnessing the decline of Rule of Law?


      • For voter ID, their claim is that it would unfairly discourage the poor (which they claim are overwelmingly minority) from voting.

        given that you can’t legally rent a hotel room without providing ID, let alone flying or so many other things, I have a really hard time believing that there are many citizens who do not have any ID.

        Don’t they require some sort of ID as part of the process of getting welfare/medicare??

        For Sancuary Cities, their claim is that by activly not enforcing immigration laws, they remove the fear that by calling the police to report a crime, the person calling would get into immigration trouble.

        There is a nugget of value here, but when to go from that to refusing to communicate with ICE about rapists and wife-beaters, they have taken things way too far.


      • Witnessing from the sidelines, it appears that we are witnessing the decline of DEMOCRACY itself. The USA experience gives me the impression of “If you don’t like the law, or the election results, just ignore them”. Down in South Africa, we are probably witnessing the beginning of a dictatorship, with the President having just reshuffled his cabinet unilaterally in order to stock it with his kleptocratic yes-men.

        Liked by 1 person

        • yes men in the cabinet does not signal a dictatorship. A President is supposed to be the authority in the Executive Branch, and as such, he needs to have people in place that will execute his policies, not people who will disagree and execute some other policies.

          Now, in an ideal situation, the President picks subject-matter experts who provide good advice on the policy, but political opponents are always going to see the opposing parties picks as at least potential, if not literal yes-men.

          The Trump cabinet appointees are pretty unusual in that, during their hearings, they voiced opinions different than what Trump has voiced, and he encouranged it. Everyone expected what they voiced to be revealing the details of Trump’s policies, but he made it clear that they had their own opinions, which in many cases differs from his opinions, but he wanted them anyway.


      • Yes, Mr Obama’s many lawless actions make that clear. Many Democrats reject the legitimacy of the Constitution, and so attempt to corrupt it by making it a ‘living document’…. disconnected from the plain meaning of the words. The electoral college is rejected as a legitimate wat to elect the President, and of course, many many laws are simply bot enforced. The rule of law seems very near its end. I am very concerned about the future of the country.


    • You have to have an ID of some sort, if you are a citizen of this country, and of voting age, period.

      As is, the above statement leaves a lot to be desired.


      • No doubt about that. Please fill in the blanks. Here are a few.

        – If you are a citizen, you are assigned an SSN for identification.
        – If you drive as a citizen, you are assigned an earned DL
        – If you draw any type of entitlement as a citizen, you provide ID to obtain such from the applicable govenment agency involved.

        You get the idea.


        • Least we overlook things needed to function in our modern economic system such as getting a Discover Card, buying or renting a home, applying for an account at Sears or opening a bank account, etc.
          Now we can just add being able to participate in the USA elections.
          It just makes sense!


        • you must provide an ID to fly you must provide an ID to rent a car you must provide an ID to rent a hotel room you must provide an ID to open a bank account you must provide an ID to do anything that requires a credit check (which includes renting housing in many cases) you must provide an ID to buy alcohol

          for crying out loud, you must provide an ID to buy cough syrup

          every state offers a cheap (typically $35 every 5 years) photo id from their equivalent of the DMV for those who cannot qualify to drive. If the cost of such an ID is a problem, I’m sure that the various charities would happily provide money to the poor to get such IDs (assuming the various get-out-the-vote organizations wouldn’t do so), and for the purposes of voter-id, an expired drivers license or equivalent voter ID should be acceptable. (at the very least, a recently expired one)


          • “I’m sure that the various charities would happily provide money to the poor to get such IDs . . .”

            The Democrats have no interest in helping anyone get IDs or anything else that would inhibit voter fraud.

            /Mr Lynn


          • there are states that currently have voter ID requirements. I’m sure in those states, the Democrats are very willing to help anyone they think will vote for them get an ID


          • Stopped yesterday to pick up lunch for guys on jobsite, also a pack of smokes for one of them. I am 56 years old and had to show ID to buy a pack of cigarettes. Democrats created this sh*t, and yet go to court to stop people from having to show they are US Citizens when they vote. THIS, more than anything else, shows them to be the enemies of America they so gleefully are.


    • What’s difficult to understand? When you hire an illegal you don’t have to pay SS taxes, or any other taxes since you pay them cash. Thus you can get $500 worth of work done for $350 or so. It is all about keeping costs down and profit up, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with helping this poor illegal get ahead or giving them an opportunity to better themselves and their families. That is the illegals reasons for doing it, but for the “sanctuary citizens,” its not about being magnanimous, it is all about person greed.


      • Actually you are getting $500 worth of work for $500, instead of getting $250 worth of work for $1200. American workers have been priced out by taxes and regulations, American small business has been crippled by taxes and regulations. Taxes and regulations, the primary weapons Democrats have been using against America for decades.


  5. It would appear to be a toothless law. Here’s a pro-illegal-alien document that (on a quick skim) seems to make the case that ‘sanctuary’ entities that don’t actively provide information to the Feds don’t violate Section 1373 because they are not actively restricting the flow of such information:

    Click to access 8_usc_1373_factsheet_-_2017_final.pdf

    It’s just weaseling, of course, but since there are no specific requirement for information, and no penalties for not providing it, the ‘sanctuaries’ can skate right under it, just like the title of this site.

    Now whether there are more general prohibitions and penalties for interfering or not cooperating with Federal immigration authorities I don’t know; perhaps some lawyerly types might be able to tell us. I hope at least there is some legal justification for the President to restrict federal funds from ‘sanctuary’ entities that refuse to cooperate with ICE. If not, that’s an empty threat, and an empty threat is all Section 1373 seems to be, too.

    Maybe General Sessions needs to ask Congress for some legislation with real penalties.

    /Mr Lynn


    • It’s just weaseling, of course, but since there are no specific requirement for information, and no penalties for not providing it, the ‘sanctuaries’ can skate right under it, just like the title of this site.
      I believe the same can be said for taxpayer supplied federal grant money.


    • No penalties? Why don’t we learn a little from B. Hussein Obama. You don’t penalize who disagree with you; you just don’t provide them with money, equipment, or other services.


  6. Time to start arresting these various elected officials and holding them without bond as they are clearly a flight risk. The illegals will flee, paying their own way as they rather clearly have plenty of money, once their facilitators in municipal and state governments are no longer able to shield them. Win/Win. Illegals gone, anti-America scumbags indefinitely locked up.

    Hey, this is the Democrat Party’s solution to American citizens who refuse to accept their anti-American degrees, time to give them a good dose of it.


  7. I don’t recall enough details of the story to provide a link, but there was an account of an officer somewhere back east who was suspended pending investigation for sending information about an inmate to ICE. The state in question has a sanctuary policy that the cop knowingly violated.

    It seems to me that Sessions just offered that cop’s lawyer a valuable pointer to a potent defense.


  8. Maybe this would be considered too extreme , what say you ?

    The Interstate highway system was created using national defense requirements and is maintained with Federal $$$, so let the Dept of Defense send demolition teams to every “Sanctuary City” to cut all entrance and exit ramps until such time as the mouthpieces and City Officials have groveled and apologized; also just for emphasis check drivers licenses at entrances within 20 miles of a “Sanctuary City” and block those with a “Sanctuary” address. The squealing will be heard ’round the world and maybe a few more illegals will be caught for deportation as a bonus.

    Just Sayin’.


You are invited to add your comments. Please QUOTE THE EXACT WORDS YOU ARE DISCUSSING so we can all be clear on your subject.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s