This letter (H/T: @brianmrosenthal) went out to Lupe Valdez, the (Democratic) Sheriff of Dallas County, Texas. Sheriff Valdez made the news recently when she announced that her jurisdiction (which includes the City of Dallas) would not “comply with federal requests to detain immigrants in the country illegally if her office does not find them to be a significant public safety risk” (as the Houston Chronicle put it). Governor Abbott’s response was remarkably straightforward:
Your refusal to fully participate in a federal law enforcement program intended to keep dangerous criminals off the streets leaves the State no choice but to take whatever actions are necessary to protect our fellow Texans. Policies like yours compel Texas to take action to protect Texans’ safety and to reduce the costs that those policies may impose on Texas taxpayers.
At a minimum, Texas must pass laws that prohibit any policy or action like yours that promotes sanctuary to people in this state illegally. The State must also enact laws that make it illegal for a Sheriff’s Department to not honor a federal immigration detainer request. Texas must also evaluate the extent to which local taxpayers should foot the bill for local decisions that increase costs for our health and education systems. Further, the State should consider amending the Tort Claims Act to ensure counties are fully financially responsible for the actions of any illegal immigrants who are released because the county’s Sheriff failed to honor an ICE detainer request.
Basically, Governor Abbott is promising to provide some real pain for the county’s non-compliance with federal law, here. Threatening funding is, of course, a traditional punishment in these sorts of situations*; but note the Governor’s willingness to put Dallas County law enforcement on the civil tort hook for any crimes committed because the county couldn’t be bothered to follow said federal law. That will cause a merry fight in the courts, let me tell you; not least because without tort protection the Democrats’ sanctuary city policy would be a disaster waiting to happen for local law enforcement organizations, and the local law enforcement organizations know it.
Come, I will conceal nothing from you: I am an immigration squish (although I don’t care for sanctuary cities on general, and generally practical, principles**). But both the Democrats, and the Left in general, have this remarkably infuriating habit of ignoring laws that they don’t like, then getting huffy when people imitate them in that regard. So the Democrats should make their decision, here: do they want to follow all federal laws, even when they don’t like the law in question? Or do they want to praise all local officials for fighting back against federal laws that said officials don’t like – even when the civil disobedience in question is, I don’t know, refusing to sign same-sex marriage certificates?
Note that it doesn’t matter that they want to have their cake and eat it, too. Everybody wants that. But down in Texas it looks like events are in motion that will force the Democrats to become a bit more consistent about what they preach.
Moe Lane (crosspost)
*And I expect that it will shine even more brightly as a tactical tool once Gov. Perry’s team gets the last of those ridiculous charges against him tossed.
**If you don’t like a law, have it changed. Which means: don’t instead tell people not to follow it unless you’re prepared to see those same people maybe break some other laws that they don’t like, either. And if it does happen, don’t complain about it, because You Were Warned.