This article by Simon Davis-Cohen appeared in The Progressive March 8th, 2018.
n January 16, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen confirmed that the Department of Justice intends to pursue criminal charges against local and state officials who defend “sanctuary” policies. “The Department of Justice is reviewing what avenues may be available,” Nielsen told the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee.
Nielsen argues sanctuary policies put U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents “at risk” and therefore local officials should be held criminally accountable for not following orders. On March 6, 2018 the Department of Justice sued California, Governor Jerry Brown and Attorney General Xavier Becerra over the state’s newly-passed sanctuary laws. Among the Department of Justice claims: the reforms force ICE agents into “difficult and dangerous” situations, “endangering immigration officers.”
Similar intimidation tactics are already taking place on the state-to-local level. At issue are not just sanctuary city policies but the ability of local governments and officials to stand up to state governments’ “preemption” of their municipal powers.
For example, Texas last year passed a highly controversial “show me your papers” immigration bill (SB4) that prohibits any local law, order, rule, informal policy, unwritten rule, or action that impedes federal immigration agents. And if the law is broken, local officials can be held personally responsible. MORE…