Sanctuary Cities

How the Supreme Court's Conservative Justices May Have Saved Undocumented Aliens in Sanctuary Cities

Trump's executive order is toothless


After Donald Trump's executive order cracking down on so-called sanctuary cities, liberals have gone into into full defiance mode. Mayors of New York, Chicago and

Hispanics Love America
Ray from LA via Foter

many more localities have declared that they have no intention of hewing to Trump's demands to handover their peaceful, hardworking undocumented workers even if nixes their federal dollars.

Good for them!

But the fact of the matter, I note in my column at The Week, is that when nobility is expensive you get less of it. A spine is a luxury good!

So it is a very good thing both for the liberal spine – and undocumented workers – that Trump's threat to cut off funding is a toothless one. But here's the irony, the folks who defanged him were the conservative justices on the Supreme Court who believe in checks and balances and federalism (all things that are endangered in Trump's GOP) and wrote the Obamacare ruling.

What would have happened if the court's most liberal justices had prevailed?

Go here to find out.

NEXT: Trump to Chat With Putin Saturday, Bannon Says Media Is 'Opposition Party,' March for Life Today in Washington: A.M. Links

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. If cities and states actually embraced the mindset of eschewing federal dollars and they strings that come with them, the Trump presidency will be a success.

    1. This is actually a win-win-win for smaller federal budgets.

      Cities refuse to follow law. Feds cut billions in grants to these cities, federal budget shrinks by billions and cities have to raise taxes to pay for handouts. Citizens of said cities get pissed that taxes are being raised and get rid of free loaders.

      1. Citizens of said cities get pissed that taxes are being raised and get rid of free loaders leave.


        1. Even better because the cities’ tax base would fall off the map like Detroit.

          1. Go back to California, hippies, quit ruining Colorado and Texas.

  2. Only Hitler would want to deport violent illegal alien criminals.

    Every progressive knows that more Violent crime is the path to a libertarian utopia.

    1. Classic Cloward-Piven. Intentionally overburden the system in order to collapse and destroy it, so that our totalitarian overlords can rebuild it in their own image.

      1. Except that if it collapses while Trump is the overlord…

  3. Good for them!

    Fuck rule of law!

    1. Unless it a law that leftist’s approve of – like Obamacare.

      I recall reading comments from leftists (who believe in ignoring immigration law with impunity) in response to criticism of Obamacare that “it’s the law!!!!!”

  4. So when Nick said we shouldn’t allow criminal illegals into the U.S., Shika wasn’t onboard with even that limitation?

    1. In her defense, limitations are hard to conceptualize when you’re retarded.

  5. they have no intention of hewing to Trump’s demands to handover their peaceful, hardworking undocumented workers even if nixes their federal dollars

    Your hyperbole is just as disingenuous as Trump’s

    1. Exactly. What sanctuary cities do is no t report illegals that have been arrested, which is not quite the same as peaceful, hardworking illegals. Of course, peaceful hardworking people get arrested, too, but that’s not all who get arrested and non-reported.

    2. Are these sanctuary city mayors prepared to demand the repeal of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986?

      You remember IRCA, don’t you? That is the law which makes it a crime for an employer like me to hire peaceful, hardworking undocumented workers. That is the law that forces me, against my will, to become an enforcement arm of the federal government by requiring me to invest my own time and resources into “screening out” peaceful, hardworking undocumented workers from the workforce, and to deny them employment. That is also the law that forces you, as a job applicant, to provide me with copies of personal documents like drivers licenses, birth certificates and bank account statements, to “prove” that you are “authorized to work.”

      What is the purpose of providing peaceful, hardworking undocumented workers with drivers licenses and college education at resident tuition rates if it is a crime to give them work after they receive these benefits? How are Dreamers supposed to fulfill their Dreams if you incarcerate employers who attempt to give Dreamers their dream jobs? Indeed, the only reason that peaceful, hardworking undocumented workers are undocumented is that any employer who attempted to document them would be admitting to a crime.

      Unless and until you call for the repeal of this federal law, your professions of concern and caring for your peaceful, hardworking undocumented workers will continue to ring hollow.

  6. Immigration policy of the left is really insidious. They know that the more illegal immigrants that are in the USA:
    (1) the harder it is to remove them
    (2) they have babies and create anchors to citizenship, which makes it harder to remove them
    (3) the immigrants will be so happy, they will vote Democrat.

    The longer we wait to fix this leaking ship, the harder it will be. Same with national debt and the welfare state.

    I really hate that I have to be so tough on illegals but there are millions of them and it is not fair to the legal immigrants, who follow the rules. I would never expect another nation to accept me sneaking into their country and taking handouts at their taxpayer expense.

    1. Even the beneficiaries of Reagan’s amnesty went full Democrat. That was a significant factor in turning California into a permanently blue state.

    2. I would never expect another nation to accept me sneaking into their country and taking handouts at their taxpayer expense.
      I read recently that many a prog is having difficulty moving to Canada because of their restrictive immigration laws.

    3. My theory is that the Democrats never propose actually REFORMING and improving access to legal immigration channels to keep their voting base loyal. The Republicans advocate enforcing the laws. The Democrats advocate ignoring the laws (rather than reforming them) because if they /reform/ them the immigrants have no incentive to remain loyal to the Democrats. With the Democrat policy of “just ignore the laws” the immigrants have the threat of being deported should the Republicans ever come to power hanging over them forever. Reform removes that loyalty-forcing threat, which is why the most you hear out of the Democrat side is calls to ignore existing laws, rather than remove them.

    4. (2) they have babies and create anchors to citizenship, which makes it harder to remove them

      An “anchor baby” cannot sponsor their parents for citizenship until they are 18 years old. Plus the parents have to wait an additional 10 years if the parents came here illegally.

      And the “anchor baby” has to pay US taxes on their income overseas?

    5. (4) Illegals get counted in the census, increasing House representation and electoral votes for Blue areas.

  7. I think Dalmia’s article is basically correct (for once), but I don’t think it will matter. Yes, Trump probably can’t cut off much of the existing funding.

    But he can and will pass a 1 trillion infrastructure spending package and it will include provisions of compliance with Federal law. And Democrats will detest and hate that, in general, but pigs at the trough will feed and some will cross the line and vote for it.

  8. “Mayors of New York, Chicago and Hispanics Love AmericaRay from LA via Fotermany more localities have declared that they have no intention of hewing to Trump’s demands to handover their peaceful, hardworking undocumented workers even if nixes their federal dollars.”

    When you say “undocumented workers”, you’re talking about illegal aliens?

    Again, we should be careful not to conflate two different questions:

    1) Should we have an immigration policy?

    2) What should our immigration policy be?

    I’m all for keeping our immigration policy as expansive as legitimate security considerations will allow, but I think we should have an immigration policy.

    The more we convince people that libertarians don’t want any immigration policy at all, the less likely they will be to support a libertarian immigration policy that is as expansive as possible while addressing legitimate security concerns.

    1. They are their own worst enemies and why few people take libertarians seriously.

      1. Are they even libertarians? Maybe exitarians, since the right of exit seems to be about the only right they take super cereal, and generally lump it in with an assumed right of entry into systems even if though it might shit them up to the point other people who more of a legitimate right of membership are forced to exit.

        If this system of quasi-democratic technocracy collapses, the next system will need to be based not on votes or speech or lines on a map, but freedom of association (including freedom not to associate) at its core.

        1. I believe there are anarcho-capitalists who legitimately don’t think the government should be enforcing immigration at all.

          I wouldn’t say they aren’t real libertarians.

          They have legitimate arguments that bring into question whether small state libertarians like me are real libertarians.

    2. The more we convince people that libertarians don’t want any immigration policy at all

      Do libertarians really want this?

      The commentariat is pretty split on the subject. I like free egress as a principle. Reality tends to stand in the way of my principles and creates a lot of ifs. If the reason they want to come here is because life is better here and they genuinely want to adopt our culture and follow our laws, let them come. Being an American or any other nationality isn’t an in-born quality. It’s a state of mind, and those can be adopted. If, on the other hand, they want to come here because of our welfare state, if they don’t care to adapt to our customs or follow our laws, then the only recourse is to deport them.

      Repeal much of the welfare state and offer people opportunities, not hand-outs, and it would be fine. Like the early U.S.

      1. Like the early U.S.

        Which is a huge difference worth pointing out when someone feeds you the “nation of immigrants” line. The entire dynamic is changed when the welfare state perverts incentives to change the quality of individuals we receive and entices them to not assimilate into the culture after they’re here and entices them to stay here even if they can’t cut it on their own. Back in ye olden days, more than 1/3rd of migrants went home when things didn’t work out for them. That happens less now, and that’s a bad thing.

      2. I don’t want to rehash the thread from yesterday, but in short . . .

        Mexico should develop an ID and a database, so that we can independently verify that any Mexican citizen that comes across our border is who they say they are, isn’t a convicted felon, is inoculated against certain diseases, etc. We can do that by treaty or official U.S. policy–the rest would be up to Mexico.

        So long as we can take reasonable security precautions–and have the ability to keep the people we don’t want here out–people should be free to move back and forth across the border at will. This is what most libertarians mean when they’re talking about open borders.

        When Dalmia is talking about this, she doesn’t seem to be talking about open borders as an official matter of policy. She seems to be arguing that there shouldn’t be any policy at all–that undocumented workers should remain here regardless of any laws or treaties. However, the legitimate purpose of government is to protect our rights, and the legitimate purpose of immigration policy is to protect our rights from threats that might come across our borders.

      3. In other words, in order for us to have open borders–where Mexican citizens can come across by merely having their IDs checked–it’s probably necessary to secure our border against those who either fail our security checks or seek to avoid them. That means there needs to be an immigration policy–and that policy should be expansive.

        Open borders does not mean people coming here without having to show so much as a passport. It means people should be free to come here so long as they aren’t a security threat.

      4. “Repeal much of the welfare state and offer people opportunities, not hand-outs, and it would be fine.”

        It is true that the solution to people abusing the welfare state is not to limit immigration.

        The solution to people abusing the welfare state is to slash funding for the welfare state.

    3. Ken,
      I want to understand your viewpoint, but there seem to be a lot of Open Borders advocates out there that are saying that there should be no such thing as illegal immigration. It makes it confusing and makes me stand by my statement that it is a pipe dream. I reckon it to Marxism at this point: great on paper(not really imo), has yet to be proven in reality.

      1. If there were open borders, as I described, the only illegal immigrants would be people who were rejected at the border for some reason (felony conviction, no vaccination record, etc.), and who sneaked into the country anyway.

        There would be very few of those people, and they’d be much easier to catch if all the people who just came here looking for work came across a border checkpoint.

        There would still be people from Europe who overstayed their tourist or student visas.

        Again, you seem to be having a hard time separating the straw man from the reality. I understand why. The anti-immigration people have been railing against open borders as if it were that straw man for decades. Doesn’t make it so.

        It’s common to treat your ideological adversaries that way. In related news, pro-choice people aren’t really entirely anti-life. The overwhelming majority of them want mothers prosecuted if they murder their infants. Likewise, pro-life people aren’t really entirely anti-choice. They think people should be free to make choices for themselves on all kinds of things.

      2. And, no, open borders people generally don’t want the government to stop checking IDs and let known terrorists or foreign armies waltz across the border at will. There are some strange people, I’m sure, who think that, but they aren’t typical–or like Dalmia, they haven’t really thought considered the implications of what they’re saying. Most open borders people want open borders to be the official policy of the United States–they don’t want to do away with any and all immigration policy.

        That’s pretty much the way it is when Americans go to Mexico. You show your ID, and they let you across the border, and you can stay there for up to six months. Before the end of six months, you’re supposed to leave the country and come back if you want to stay longer than that–you can even do it the same day. Getting a job visa is more problematic for Americans in Mexico, but we don’t have to follow suit there. The point is that letting people go across the border with ID–so long as they aren’t a security threat–isn’t a pipe dream. It’s already standard practice in dozens of countries all over the world.

        1. Thanks for coming back and answering my stupid question.

  9. There’s something else Dalmia should consider when praising our politicians for flouting the law.

    Establishing a uniform rule of naturalization is an enumerated power of Congress, like declaring war, and I think that’s the way it probably should be.

    There are consequences to state and local government ignoring the rules as set by Congress, and one of them is that the American people lose faith in the democratic process and our institutions–and that, in turn, leads them to put their faith in a populist like Donald Trump.

    When anti-immigration people line up behind a Joe Arpaio or a Donald Trump, it is not entirely unrelated to their frustration with other politicians elsewhere who are willfully ignoring the laws made by Congress and dong so with impunity. If you don’t like seeing people line up behind Sheriff Arpaio or Donald Trump, you might reconsider applauding elitist politicians in sanctuary cities for giving average people and democracy the finger. Democracy isn’t everything, but it has its place–and setting the uniform rules of naturalization is probably legitimately one of them.

    1. and one of them is that the American people lose faith in the democratic process and our institutions

      Another is that the border states are not islands unto themselves. A border is just a border and once illegals are already here, they’re free to go anywhere they want, and there are a lot of other states who should get a say in who gets to settle in them.

      What do we want instead, states installing individual checkpoints at their own borders stopping everyone from coming in and asking “your papers, please.” That’s also what you’ll get as a natural outgrowth of lawlessness on immigration.

  10. I see how the Supreme Court decision limits Trump-As-President to have executive branch agencies punish other jurisdictions for not “helping” enforce immigration laws.

    What I’m not seeing is what the response would be if the GOP congress got in on the game. The House sets the budget. If they predicate some amount of funding that gets to the city-level on local law enforcement respecting Immigration holds for people arrested, is there actually anything that could be done?

    For example, could the next budget link, say, 1% of a state’s Medicare block grant to its law local law enforcement meeting some standard for immigration enforcement? The states that are big on sanctuary cities are also leveraged to the hilt. It wouldn’t take a very big financial stick to cause a lot of pain, and Congress can wield a very big stick.

    1. The Sebelius decision on Medicaid funding is not portable to any other situation. It is drafted and was agreed to specifically as a one-off.

      You will note that there are still lots of much smaller (than Medicaid) federal funding streams with all kinds of conditions attached to them that are still in effect.

      Sloppy, to the point of wishful, thinking to believe that SCOTUS will say (a) a huge federal revenue stream like Medicaid can’t be conditioned a certain way because it amounts to extortion, (b) mid-sized federal revenue streams like highway funding can be conditioned in all kinds of ways because they aren’t big enough to be extortion, and (c) smaller federal revenue streams like municipal funding programs can’t be conditioned, because extortion.

      1. Have you watched the Roberts court? They are all about that sort of carve out.

  11. Don’t forget that Shikha moved from one shithole (India) to another shithole (Detroit) so why doesn’t she give a damn if the whole USA becomes a shithole?

  12. Again, if ICE won’t enforce the immigration laws, I’m going to ignore the copyright laws that are mysteriously also part of their purview…..

  13. A lot of the fed money that cities get is grants, not funding formulas set by legislation.

    If the Feds want to cut off COPS, Byrne grants, Homeland Security grants, etc. all they have to do is not award the grants to San Francisco – and instead award them to Fort Worth or Evansville or Grand Rapids or any number of non-sanctuary cities.

  14. “peaceful, hardworking undocumented workers even if nixes their federal dollars.”

    When you start this way it goes down hill…undocumented. It’s not like the government lost them. They are illegal.
    Yes a majority are peaceful, hardworking you can’t prove, but some are violent. Those are fine though right?

    To restate – people work hard to become citizens here. Illegal immigrants, don’t. They think the system doesn’t apply to them. Shirka thinks it’s ok for them to skip in line of all the people doing it the right away. Safety wise since the illegals don’t try to learn English it makes them a danger to all.

    Yes, the American immigrant systems stinks and takes too long. But that is the system at present.

    Ok, off my crusty soap box.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.