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.
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.