Justice Threatens Sanctuary Cities With Subpoenas

public domain image via ICE, https://www.dhs.gov/photo/criminal-aliens-and-immigration-fugitives-arrested-ice
Enforcement and Removal Operations officers, with assistance from federal, state and local counterparts, arrested more than 3,100 convicted criminal aliens and immigration fugitives during a six-day nationwide “Cross Check” enforcement operation.

Back in April, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that he intended to deprive so-called sanctuary cities of some federal grant money. This is now tied up in court (Ninth Circuit, naturally), but in the end, Justice and justice will prevail in this. The grants Justice is targeting already contain a promise by the grant recipients that they will cooperate with federal immigration agents.

Now the Justice Department has increased the pressure. It has demanded that sanctuary cities turn over all documents and correspondence on the issue or face a federal subpoena for those documents.

President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions have long promised to target places with policies friendly to those in the country illegally — warning they might withhold federal money from some and trying to tie grant eligibility to cooperation with federal authorities on immigration matters. The Justice Department had previously contacted the 23 jurisdictions threatened Wednesday, raising worries they might be in violation of a federal law barring places from enacting policies that block communication with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

In a new letter, Bureau of Justice Assistance Director Jon Adler said officials remained “concerned” that the places had policies that violate the law, even after their previous responses. He asked for a new bevy of documents — including “any orders, directives, instructions, or guidance to your law enforcement employees” — and said the department would subpoena the materials if necessary.

That threat escalates the department’s effort, as it could have the courts compelling jurisdictions to turn over documents that they didn’t provide voluntarily.

“I continue to urge all jurisdictions under review to reconsider policies that place the safety of their communities and their residents at risk,” Sessions said in a statement. “Protecting criminal aliens from federal immigration authorities defies common sense and undermines the rule of law. We have seen too many examples of the threat to public safety represented by jurisdictions that actively thwart the federal government’s immigration enforcement — enough is enough.”

What Justice is doing is saying that these various jurisdictions certifying that they aren’t “sanctuaries” is not sufficient. Justice wants to see their policies and it wants to see what elected officials have told law enforcement about cooperating with ICE.

If Sessions is serious about this he will either break this sanctuary nonsense or make the price so high that the support will disappear. This lawlessness is legally indistinguishable from the “total resistance’ in the South to school desegregation. It is illegal. It must end.