Why We Need Sanctuary Cities

by Robert Reich – California lawmakers have just passed “sanctuary state” legislation – the first state since Oregon, which 30 years ago passed a law preventing state agencies from targeting undocumented immigrants solely because of their illegal status. Other states should follow California’s and Oregon’s lead. Since January, when Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered immigration authorities to target “public safety” threats, federal arrests of undocumented immigrants have increased by over 37 percent. California is home to an estimated 2.3 million unauthorized immigrants. California’s law limits the authority of state and local law enforcers to communicate with federal immigration authorities, and prevents officers from questioning or holding people depending on their immigration status or immigration violations. But it still allows federal immigration authorities to enter county jails to question immigrants, and allow police and sheriffs to share information on people who have been convicted of serious crimes. This is a fair balance. Sanctuary...

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No, Jeff Sessions, You can’t Just Strip Funding from ‘Sanctuary Cities’ to Hurt Immigrants

by Ian Millhiser – Will someone please introduce the attorney general to a lawyer? The Justice Department threatened to cut off grant funding to eight cities on Friday — unless those cities provide more support to federal officials trying to crack down on undocumented immigrants. But DOJ’s threat is unconstitutional and is highly unlikely to survive a lawsuit. In fact, the Justice Department’s threat against these eight cities appears to be so amateurish and so poorly aligned with longstanding Supreme Court precedent that it raises serious questions about whether the threat was properly vetted. At issue is funding for so-called “sanctuary cities,” a term that’s often used for cities that choose not to cooperate with federal efforts to arrest immigrants. Under the Supreme Court’s “anti-commandeering doctrine,” the feds cannot order a state or local government to participate in a federal program. Thus, while a state or municipality may voluntarily agree to have its police...

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