Donald Trump

Jeff Sessions Threatens Unconstitutional Action Against Sanctuary Cities

The Attorney General aims to dragoon state and local officials and leave them "no real option but to acquiesce."


Gage Skidmore

Yesterday Attorney General Jeff Sessions threatened to withhold, terminate, and "claw-back" federal funding for so-called sanctuary cities and states, which are those jurisdictions that either won't help the federal government round up and deport undocumented immigrants or otherwise refuse to participate in the enforcement of federal immigration laws. "I urge our nation's states and cities to consider carefully the harm they are doing to their citizens by refusing to enforce our immigration laws, and to re-think these policies," Sessions said. "Such policies make their cities and states less safe, and put them at risk of losing valuable federal dollars."

Sessions may not like the idea of sanctuary cities, but sanctuary cites are protected by both the Constitution and by Supreme Court precedent. As Justice Antonin Scalia observed in his 2007 majority opinion in Printz v. United States, "the Federal Government may neither issue directives requiring the States to address particular problems, nor command the States' officers, or those of their political subdivisions, to administer or enforce a federal regulatory program." In other words, thanks to the 10th Amendment and to the constitutional principles of federalism, the federal government may not commandeer the states for federal purposes. What that means here is that state and local officials have every right to refuse to enforce federal immigration laws.

But what about when the federal government threatens to withhold federal funding from those states or cities that refuse to do its bidding? Yes, that too can be unconstitutional. Under Article I, Section 8, Congress possesses to powers to tax and to spend. But as the Supreme Court has repeatedly made clear, those powers may not be used in illegal ways. For example, the Court has said that it is unconstitutional for the feds to impose "coercive" conditions on federal grants to the states.

To be sure, the Supreme Court has allowed the feds to attach certain strings to federal dollars. Most famously, in South Dakota v. Dole (1987), that state lost 5 percent of its federal highway funding because it refused to raise its legal drinking age from 19 to 21. The Supreme Court ruled for the federal government in that dispute because it found the threatened loss of just 5 percent of federal highway dollars to be non-coercive. It was a nudge, not a gun to the head.

But South Dakota v. Dole is not the last word on the matter. The most recent case on point is National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, the 2012 dispute over the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. One of the central questions in that case was whether Congress had overstepped its lawful bounds when it threatened to cut off all existing Medicaid funding to any state that refused to expand Medicaid in accordance with Obamacare.

The Obama administration lost on that question by 7-2. The federal government's Medicaid expansion amounted to a "gun to the head," the Supreme Court held. "A State that opts out of the Affordable Care Act's expansion in health care coverage…stands to lose not merely 'a relatively small percentage' of its existing Medicaid funding, but all of it." That sort of "economic dragooning…leaves the States with no real option but to acquiesce."

Jeff Sessions's threats against sanctuary cities would seem to be equally unconstitutional under this standard. Just like the Medicaid expansion, Sessions aims to dragoon state and local officials and leave them "no real option but to acquiesce." If the Trump administration makes good on those threats, its actions will most likely violate the Constitution.

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  1. There is no requirement for the state officers to arrest anybody…just to notify immigration of the situation. And the immigration laws were on the books before the money came in (unlike with Sebellius).

    So, are there ANY federal laws a state should have any obligation to abide by? Any whatsoever? The Articles of Confederation failed for a reason.

    1. Yeah, that’s what makes no sense about his argument. This is not a new change to the already existing grant program.

    2. This isn’t about states following federal laws. It’s about state and municipal agencies enforcing federal laws, which is not their mandate.

      1. That is not true. No one has demanding the states enforce immigration laws. The states have refused to cooperate with the feds on immigration. This is a vastly different situation, akin to states refusing to coordinate with the Feds on holding a bank robber fleeing across state lines, or providing sanctuary to a mobster wanted on a federal RICO warrant.
        Comparisons to prior rulings on constitutionality are farcical as there is no recent activity that is comparable. The closest led up to the civil war.

        1. Seems kinda like Title IX enforcement.

          You take federal money, you follow their rules.

          1. To add detail, you can be against the rules in Title IX, but the basic flipside of “No taxation without representation” still applies.

            The basic idea is that if I have to pay for something, then I get a say in how my money is spent. If you’re not following the law, then the government shouldn’t give you the taxpayers’ money.

            Another example of this might be them “forcing” Citadel to accept female cadets. If Citadel didn’t want to qualify for public funds, then they didn’t need to comply with accepting female cadets, but in order to qualify for public funds, they needed to comply with the law.

            1. Medicaid expansion.

        2. So what if the states refuse to cooperate with the feds on immigration?

          1. Then it would make sense that they might not qualify for some federal grants, wouldn’t it?

            1. Do you feel the same way about the 21 year old drinking age and the medicaid expansion?

              IIRC SCOTUS had some critical things to say about withholding federal funds to coerce states into compliance with federal objectives.

              1. I’m not sure its s bad thing if states got less federal money.

              2. I feel the same way about people not praying or teaching creationism in public schools.

                You can pray and teach creationism all you want in a private school, but if you take government money, then you need to comply with the government’s rules.

                In this case, those constitutional immigration rules are set by Congress.

                To your point about Medicaid expansion, again, not all the states wanted that money or that program. Last I heard, it was some 20 states that refused to participate.

                People turn away money so that they can keep control all the time. When you take someone’s money, there are strings attached. If you don’t want the strings, don’t take the money.

                You should see some of the contracts commercial real estate developers have to sign. A lot of people would rather raise equity from friends, family, and other developers than give up the ability to make decisions without some equity fund’s okay.

                Such is life. That principle, that taking money means playing by the money’s rules, is much bigger than any single issue. It’s like natural law. Even if the law changed, that principle would reassert itself eventually.

                1. Stop making sense Ken. I have no desire to agree with much of Trump’s game but current immigration policy creates an abusive situation for many undocumented, allows a wage underclass and promotes increased unemployment of current American citizens in industrialized cities as well as rural communities. Shame on Reason for promoting the article.

          2. I have no idea. This is uncharted territory. Like I said, the most recent example led to the civil war.

            States/Feds have routine reciprocity on a great number of law enforcement activities. Selective refusal has not happened. Speed limits, DUI limits, healthcare…etc.etc, were about coercion, no law enforcement reciprocity.
            It is ridiculous to claim constitutionality flaws. Frankly, it’s more likely that the States are open to a suit under the 14th for refusal to provide equal protection under the law.

            The States are stupidly playing with fire. I would love to see an expansion of State’s rights, but this will not help that. It’s more likely to cement Fed controls.

            1. I find it interesting that the last time states and/or cities decided that they weren’t going to follow Federal law it led up to a war between the states. This is more or less the same thing conceptually only it’s city governments instead of the states but at the end of the day it’s pretty clear the state government doesn’t really give a shit either.

              Ergo, it would appear that States no longer need to follow Federal law in any form or fashion. This is essentially the dead of Federalism.

              Does this mean we can secede down here in Texas yet? As a bonus, we’re pretty sure California will do the same.

      2. This isn’t about states following Federal laws, OR about their enforcing them. It’s about the people at Reason despising any attempts to control the borders, and it’s getting old.

        Is Sessions’ attempt at coercion Constitutional? An argument can be made that it is not, but one can also be made that it is; that the State and Local governments have an understood duty to watch for and detain people who have broken Federal law, especially immigration law in time of war (if we aren’t at war, please let me know how you would describe out present state).

        I would love to see immigration laws shift to more open ones. I would be prepared to tolerate Liberal Virtue Signaling on this subject IF the local governments asses their own, broader, immigration laws.=, and then enforced THEM. That is, essentially, what the places where marijuana is now ‘legal’ have done; they’ve passed their own laws at variance with the Federal laws.

        To the best of my knowledge, the ‘Sanctuary Cities’ have not done that. They smile have decided to ignore the existing laws. And the population of people who now live in legal limbo is not helped by that.

        If the cities want to go their own way on immigration, or education, or drug laws, lat them. But I am deeply suspicious of any argument that the Feds must still send them their allowance. Sanctuary Cities want to have it both ways. They want to live in Daddy’s basement, but not follow daddy’s rules.

        1. I mostly agree with what you say. I’m not so comfortable with the idea of states and municipalities making up their own immigration rules (which is a constitutional function of the federal government). They definitely are not entitled to federal largess if they don’t want to play by the rules.

          1. I’m not completely comfortable with it either, but I’d be a damn sight happier with it than with this selective enforcement twaddle.

    3. So, are there ANY federal laws a state should have any obligation to abide by enforce?


      1. No, no one is claiming the States need to enforce federal laws. That’s not the issue around the sanctuary city premise.

    4. You do have the 14th Amendment, which gives the feds the authority to police the states for violations of constitutional rights, but the relevant federal statute says that state governments may not prohibit government agents from contacting INS regarding illegal immigrants – which raises the question in my mind as to whether or not the feds are claiming state government officials have a constitutional right to contact INS. It seems to me if state wants to forbid its employees from dealing with the feds, that’s their prerogative as sovereign governments. How can the feds order the states to do thus and so unless there’s a constitutional provision that grants the feds sovereignty over the states in that regard?

      Note, I’m not talking about whether or not the feds can make federal funds availability contingent upon cooperation, the feds have no obligation to send the states funds so whatever conditions they attach are totally up to them, but I don’t see how the feds can just pass a law saying the states can’t pass a law saying their employees can’t communicate with the feds. Under what constitutional authority are the feds acting?

      1. If a state tells an employe that they can not contact the feds that would be against a persons right to free speech so the states are going against the constitution.

  2. There is so much shittiness throughout this whole thing that it’s hard to be happy that one tiny piece of the shittiness might not be so shitty.

  3. Testing.

  4. Reason is really on the wrong side of this. Open borders no matter what!

    1. Support for open borders has always been a part of libertarianism. In 1997 I joined the Libertarian Party, and part of the package I received on joining was a book explaining the Libertarian positions on various issues, and why they were held. There was a page about borders, and it said something like this: Government’s powers are delegated to it by the people, and since people don’t have the right to block public roads and say only certain people can cross, they can’t give that right to the government. Whether you agree or disagree, you can’t deny that it has been part of libertarian theory for a long time. (Yeah, libertarians are big on theory, we can’t deny that either.)

      This article isn’t about that, it’s about what the Constitutional arguments are for and against attempts to defund “sanctuary cities”. OK, mostly, but not only, against. Maybe the headline should read “Jeff Sessions Threatens Possibly Unconstitutional Action Against Sanctuary Cities”. Better?

  5. Not totally on-board with this conclusion, Reason should publish two legal memos for both For and Against being Constitutional. Quoting a few sentences from a few opinions isn’t fully persuasive.

    1. You could go read the Supreme Court decisions. Oh wait, TMI? I see, you want it distilled down. But wait, that’s what they did! Oh I see, you want a custom distillation just for you. Pweshus snowflake, aren’t you?

  6. If you’re going go balls out on how we should ignore Congress on immigration law, then you’re gonna have a hard time making the case later that the President shouldn’t indulge in foreign adventures unless Congress specifically declares war.

    Congress is still bound to respect the First, Fourth, Fifth Amendment rights, etc. of accused illegal immigrants, but setting the rules of immigration is an enumerated power of Congress. It properly belongs with Congress and subjected to democratic considerations.

    Imposing an unpopular immigration policy on the American people is like imposing an unpopular war.

    Meanwhile, Congress setting the rules of naturalization and the President enforcing the laws of Congress is perfectly constitutional. Whether our immigration policy is desirable as presently configured is another questions entirely, but let’s grow up about using the word “unconstitutional” to describe everything the government does that we think is undesirable.

    1. Four paragraphs and not one word addressing the actual content of the post you’re commenting on. Impressive.

      1. You read four sentences of mine, all of the article, and didn’t notice the headline?

        Oh, and how ’bout:

        “But what about when the federal government threatens to withhold federal funding from those states or cities that refuse to do its bidding? Yes, that too can be unconstitutional.”

        The world doesn’t change itself to conform with your self-righteous preconceptions, Hugh. And neither did the article nor does the Constitution.

        1. And neither does the court opinion that suggests Sessions’ policy is unconstitutional, and which you have yet to address.

          1. There is no court opinion that suggests Sessions’ policy is unconstitutional. nothing comes close. This isn’t a case of coercion by the Feds. This is a case of selective reciprocity in law enforcement by the States. The states will lose and lose badly, costing all of us in the end.
            Fed power needs to be taken down a few notches. Some of the stupider States throwing a tantrum does not help that at all.

        2. The content of this post is about the constitutionality of laws passed by Congress and policies enacted by federal agencies. Those laws and polices no longer apply after the Supreme Court rules that they violate the Constitution. That was the point of Damon’s post.

          Your response is “It’s Congress’ job to set immigration policy,” which misses the point entirely. Whether that is the result of intentional mendacity or severe cranial trauma is, as always, an open question.

          And as for

          “But what about when the federal government threatens to withhold federal funding from those states or cities that refuse to do its bidding? Yes, that too can be unconstitutional.”

          Yeah Damon addressed that in the fourth paragraph of the post. Did that fact penetrate the infinitely dense matter of your skull? Science may never know.

          1. FFS. no, Damon did not address that in the fourth paragraph. He cited a completely irrelevant SCOTUS decision and ham-handedly used it as an example for the article. It’s nonsense.

            The Feds are not requiring states to change their laws, per the cited case. They are asking for common reciprocity for law enforcement activities….a very long standing practice that the States are stupidly using as a lever to appease the rapid open borders crowd. SCOTUS has not addressed anything close to this and it is difficult to see the States winning any future decision regarding laws that are extremely well established as a sole federal responsibility.

          2. He addresses it, but not conclusively. Pretty sure that’s Ken’s point.

            1. I also had something to add about how we don’t get to denigrate some enumerated powers and not others. The Constitution gives Congress the power to set the rules of naturalization in the same place where it gives Congress the power to declare war.

              If we want to call the President out when he ignores the separation of powers in declaring an unconstitutional war, then we should be careful in denigrating Congress’ power to set the rules of naturalization. It’s the same thing–enumerated powers are enumerated powers.

  7. I think the idea that Sessions calling for “cooperation” between federal immigration authorities and local law enforcement is somehow unconstitutional is ridiculous.

    Gowdy went in to this a few months ago-

    Trey Gowdy: Questions Department Of Justice On Continued Sanctuary Cities / Illegal Immigration

    When the policy is to specifically NOT inquire in to the status of the accused immigration status, how are the federal officials supposed to find out about whether or not a suspect is here illegally?

    1. They can send an INS agent in to ask suspects themselves.

      1. I don’t think you understand Gowdy’s point- how is INS going to know that the New Orleans PD has detained an illegal immigrant if the PD isn’t asking what the arrested suspects status is?

        1. That’s INS’s problem, not the NOPD’s. If its important, INS can station an agent or two in the county lock-up.

          1. So if the NOPD detains an illegal immigrant for murder, you are saying that the NOPD should NOT inform INS that they are detaining a murder suspect who is here illegally?

            Does the illegal immigrant get full constitutional protections during his prosecution too?

            1. Does the illegal immigrant get full constitutional protections during his prosecution too?

              Is this…a joke?

              1. Let’s make it easy to convict illegal immigrants of crimes they didn’t commit. At least that we way can punish them, for something.

                Lord knows those damn immigrants deserve punishment. They took our jobs!

            2. “you are saying that the NOPD should NOT inform INS that they are detaining a murder suspect who is here illegally?”

              Maybe that should be up to the NO politicians to decide.

              Perhaps they would rather apply the Louisiana law to the suspected murderer to ensure justice is served. If the suspect is deported, who knows if that person will ever be held accountable for whatever violent crime he/she may have committed.

            3. Let me put it another way.

              From a NAP perspective, an illegal immigrant is guilty of, at most, trespassing, insofar as this person is an uninvited guest.

              So if you have an illegal immigrant accused of the violent crime of murder, what you seem to be saying, is that the charge of trespassing should receive higher stature than the charge of murder? Is this really what you want to say?

            4. No, I’m saying the NOPD should be under no obligation to investigate things that are not state crimes, and under no obligation to report said crimes if they do come upon them.

              But they can if they choose to do so.

              And yes, the illegal immigrant gets full constitutional protections during not just his prosecution, but *even before his arrest/detainment*.

          2. So. I’m sure the State’s rights people will love that. Let’s force the feds to massively expand ICE activities and sweep through States and cities rounding up immigrants. Yeh, that’s a great idea.

            Selective reciprocity between States and Feds on law enforcement activity is an absurd route to go and will end badly for everyone.

            1. Why will it end badly? We have this exact same situation right now when it comes to federal laws against pot possession. Is it “ending badly” in this context?

              1. Very different situations. The Federal drugs laws are a clear overreach of Fed power, particularly when the ‘illegal’ actions only exist with the defined borders of a State.

                Immigration however, is a clear power of the Federal government. An illegal immigrant broke the law when crossing the Federal border and is hiding within a state.

                public opinion on the former is clearly against Federal overreach into an are that a majority think is not appropriately Federal.
                public opinion on the latter is clearly for immigration control and a clear majority think States are overreaching.

                I think it will end very badly for the States over immigration. This isn’t their fight..this is a federal issue. No one benefits by the Feds gaining more power and this is a very serious risk from the more stupid States throwing a tantrum about a topic the majority of their citizens disagree with.

            2. So its better for the states to massively expand their ICE activities and sweep through rounding up immigrants?

          3. INS can station an agent or two in the county lock-up.

            that will be the result but some sanctuary cities are saying they won’t even allow that

            How does this all fit in where the federal DOJ ends up overseeing police departments it has deemed to be not PC enough. Can the states now refuse those attempts as well which I would be all in favor of.

            what about school programs where states are required to report to the feds what they are doing there?

            1. I guess we can just go ahead and federalize all local police forces so they can properly do their f*cking jobs.

              I mean, that’s what liberals wanted vis-?-vis BLM, right? So they should have no opposition to this now.

    2. Its *their* law, they can send *their* people to investigate. You want to make something a federal crime, don’t do so expecting to be able to make the states do the grunt work.

      I would be happy if there was a complete and utter disconnect between state and federal level law enforcement. State LEOs do no have anything to do with federal enforcement at all – *maybe* as an assist when local knowledge is needed – beyond informing the feds of a federal crime (and without any more of an obligation to do so than I have of informing the police when I see a crime committed) and no federal enforcement of state level crimes and yes, that means not even stopping people for DUI (though I am cool with reporting it to local LEO’s – same as anyone else).

      1. they can send *their* people to investigate

        The NOPD policy is to literally ignore whether or not the person is here illegally. What exactly is INS supposed to investigate? How are they going to know who to investigate?

        1. They can investigate everyone who gets arrested. This will be expensive, but so what? That’s their problem.

        2. What the fuck is it to the NOPD if somebody they arrested is here illegally? It’s not a violation of NO law or LA law to be here illegally, it can’t be a violation because NO and LA have no authority in that area. If you arrest a guy for drunk driving or bank robbery or whatever, what possible difference could it make with regards to NO or LA law whether or not the guy is here legally? Why are they even asking the question unless it’s in preparation for assisting INS with the execution of their function? Can they demand to see the guy’s last ten year’s worth of tax returns just in case the IRS might be interested in him, examine his home’s sewer lines in case the EPA might be interested, inventory his freezer on the off chance there’s something there the Fish and Wildlife people might want to know about?

          1. Can people even discuss immigration control without making up absurd strawmen arguments?

            Here’s an absurd strawman.

            Guy is driving through Kentucky with a great white shark strapped to the hood of his car. Kentucky has no laws concerning the protection of great white sharks, nor even any waters that would contain such a creature. So then, its obvious that the Kentucky state police should just let him go his way. Because, screw the Feds. Right?

            Law enforcement reciprocity is common practice across the country. It is the norm at all levels of government. It has not been defied on such a large scale since the Civil War. But yeah, let’s just tear everything down because open borders are so cool, man.

            1. It’s not a strawman, it’s a principle-of-the-thing argument. Let’s take your Kentucky shark example – if the cop pulls you over and actually tells you the reason he pulled you over is because there’s a shark on your car and he suspects you violated some federal law, you’ve got an argument for dismissal of the charges because the cop had no reason to pull you over. It’s not a violation of Kentucky law to be in possession of a shark and he’s not a federal agent charged with enforcing federal shark laws. Of course, the cop’s not going to say he pulled you over on the suspicion he can get you nailed on federal shark-possession charges, he’s going to say he pulled you over for some other reason and then, boom, it’s a legit stop and anything he finds after that is good.

              But here’s the thing – the cop is not required to pull you over for having a shark on your car and if for some reason the city council passed a rule saying the cops were not allowed to report shark-bearing cars to the feds, why can’t they? It’s not the cop’s business if you have a shark on your car, but he has the discretion to make it his business, his bosses can remove that discretion, can’t they?

              1. And yes, law enforcement reciprocity is a common practice – but it’s merely a custom, it’s not the law. And if the alternative to open borders is a more-powerful state, I’d sooner trust any random pack of Mexicans or Arabs than my own government – I can defend myself against criminals, I can’t defend myself against thugs with badges. Fuck tha po-lice.

            2. Yes. The feds made laws protecting GWS’, the feds can go enforce those laws. Why should state cops, paid for by state taxes, care about federal law? Why should state taxpayers want the state cops they are paying to spend *one second* of time not enforcing state laws?

              Its a more legitimate use of a Trooper’s time to be making up excuses for a traffic stop on a non-descript minivan to look for drugs than to stop someone who’s got a GWS strapped to their hood.

              1. So, you are in favor of the feds increasing enforcement of federal law because the states refuse to support them? Even in basic federal areas where reciprocity has existed for decades.

                Great. and you think the feds will not jump at the chance to increase their power and use the excuse of state refusal to bring thousands of leos on the payroll to enforce clear federal law. Because thats what you are proposing….enforce their own laws. Unless you think the feds will just abdicate that power. You are not really that naive, are you?

                1. If the states *stop enforcing them* and the Feds *pick up the slack* – we’re back to where we are right now – just with the proper agencies handling the law enforcement duties.

                  If my state legalizes marijuana, why would I want state cops arresting people and turning them over to the DEA – let the DEA figure out how they’re going to enforce and let the state let some cops go or redeploy those LEO’s to cover actual crimes with actual victims. Its not the state’s concern that the federal government has made something illegal. And if the federal government, having made something illegal, then finds it doesn’t have the resources to enforce that dicta then maybe they should rethink their legislative strategy.

          2. state police already report to the feds other criminals so that the other states can know if a wanted criminal from their state has been captured this is no different or harder to do. Sanctuary cities will be giving illegals more rights than citizens

            1. No they won’t. They’ll be using the law enforcement discretion they’ve been given to prioritize their use of LEO assets.

              If you don’t want *your* jurisdiction to fail to report – then make that known. But there’s no reason to freak out about another not doing so. We wouldn’t freak out if someone was popped for speeding and the cops found they had improperly packed lobster tails for shipment but failed to report that, would we?

      2. Interesting premise. I’m sure the States will love it when the Feds higher thousands of ICE agents to sweep through the sanctuary cities. Because that’s what they are opening the door to. Fargin idiots being led around by proggy special interest open borders fantasies.

        1. Because not wanting your next door neighbors wife, that you have known for 11 years, to be deported, means you’re a proggie idiot.

          1. Yes, it does.

          2. stupid strawman.

            No one has proposed deporting everyone here illegally. There is a very large space between “sanctuary” and immigration control that reasonable people can work within.

          3. stupid strawman.

            No one has proposed deporting everyone here illegally. There is a very large space between “sanctuary” and immigration control that reasonable people can work within.

          4. stupid strawman.

            No one has proposed deporting everyone here illegally. There is a very large space between “sanctuary” and immigration control that reasonable people can work within.

          5. stupid strawman.

            No one has proposed deporting everyone here illegally. There is a very large space between “sanctuary” and immigration control that reasonable people can work within.

            1. No one has proposed deporting everyone here illegally.

              Nobody except half the commenters on this message board and most of Trump’s voters.

              1. That is a falsehood. Outside of clear hyperbole, the vast majority of pro-border control supporters support selective deportation of people we don’t want, not total deportation. The polls leave no doubt on this.

                Rabid open-border people try to make themselves sound rational by describing any immigration control as the return of the Nazis.

      3. If the states aren’t assisting with enforcement of federal laws, why are they getting law enforcement grants again?

  8. I guess this means the states are under no obligation to enforce the Civil Rights Act, the ADA, or the rest of the Federal alphabet soup of laws and regulations?

    1. exactly.

      1. Exactly. Why are we for the CRA and ADA and the rest of the Federal alphabet soup of laws and regulations again?

    2. I’m sure you think you’re being clever, but in fact states and municipalities generally don’t enforce the federal “Civil Rights Act, the ADA, or the rest of the Federal alphabet soup of laws and regulations,” except to the extent they do so in response to federal grant requirements and other conditions on federal funding.

      1. however states do report the violations to the specific agencies.

  9. I’m getting confused.

    When Arizona tried to enjoin local LE agencies to enforce federal immigration law, everyone freaked out.

    Now everyone is *supposed* to do so?

  10. What constitutes a “nudge” vs a “gun to the head”? Is 10% still a nudge? 25%? 49% is still a minority figure, is that a nudge?

    Why should we be held to a subjective interpretation of the law?

    1. I think the Supreme Court clarified that with the PPACA – 80%. Above 80% then its considered actual government control.

  11. I want to be in a sanctuary city where all the companies refuse to comply with the federal rules of withholding income taxes from their employee’s paychecks.

    1. That wouldn’t make a difference. Companies are not required to withhold – I’ve worked for several where I chose no withholding and paid my taxes directly (as these were short-term work with out-of-state contractors and it greatly simplified the paperwork – you can imagine how hard it would be to claw back taxes from CA once they’ve gotten ahold of it). So, there’s no actual crime being committed here.

      Cities have never had an obligation of any sort to ensure that companies within their jurisdictions withhold Federal or state taxes.

      1. These comment threads are always enlightening as to the number of people who have no fucking clue as to how federal laws and regulations are enforced.

  12. Sessions aims to dragoon state and local officials

    Dragoon? Nice.

  13. “Most famously, in South Dakota v. Dole (1987), that state lost 5 percent of its federal highway funding because it refused to raise its legal drinking age from 19 to 21. The Supreme Court ruled for the federal government in that dispute because it found the threatened loss of just 5 percent of federal highway dollars to be non-coercive. It was a nudge, not a gun to the head.”

    And that “nudge” was used again as leverage to force states to adopt the 55 mph interstate speed limit.

    1. Its amazing the twists the SC will go through to defer.

      If I came up to someone and demanded money with menaces, I’d still go to jail even though I didn’t brandish a weapon.

  14. If the states should be compelled to cooperate with the feds on immigration enforcement, then should the states also be compelled to cooperate with the feds on drug law enforcement, specifically, in states where pot has been made “legal” by the people of that state?

    1. Drug laws are not listed in the constitution thus making them up to the states where as the constitution specifically does state that immigrations laws are up to the feds

  15. so when will we remove the nudges from highway funds?

  16. So, the federal government can attach ridiculous strings to finding for education, health care, and infrastructure, but heaven forbid they do so for immigration enforcement.

    Sorry, I can’t take that seriously. If the constitutionality of this bothers you, maybe SCOTUS could declare it a penaltax and then it would be ok, right?

  17. Actually, having lived in THE sanctuary city, Denver, I can say with confidence that the city police there are demoralized by their inability to deal with the flood of illegal immigrants. I lived in a neighborhood with many illegals in it, and gunfire, drag racing down city streets, vandalism, homophobic speech and violence (even directed at those who simply APPEARED to our illegal neighbors to be gay), theft ranging from yard tools to cars were a consequence of Denver’s complaisance toward illegals.

    The Federal government has an affirmative duty to citizens and legally present alien residents to assure “domestic tranquility” by enforcing the law against illegal immigration. Sanctuary cities collude with illegal immigrants to violate the law (unlike state governments which legally wish to set their own speed limits, or states which legally wish to control the costs of their Medicaid programs, and not to unsustainably expand them). It’s entirely legitimate for cities which encourage a clear and present danger to the safety of those who are legally here to have to suffer the consequences of doing so. The citizens of such cities have the option of continuing to support such actions or electing officials who will change city policies to cease interfering with the administration of Federal law.

  18. Sanctuary cities violate federal law

    8 U.S. Code ? 1324 – Bringing in and harboring certain aliens

    (iii) knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that an alien has come to, entered, or remains in the United States in violation of law, conceals, harbors, or shields from detection, or attempts to conceal, harbor, or shield from detection, such alien in any place,

    Other clauses as well

    1. I think the point is that some local politicians need to be brought up on federal charges?

  19. Unconstitutional? HaHa-The primary job (really the only job) of the federal government is keeping Americans safe. There’s nothing unconstitutional about shutting down areas that harbor criminals and killers. You’ll have to peddle that BS somewhere else.

  20. Unconstitutional Action? Giving sanctuary to ILLEGALS is the unconstitutional action. Federal funds going to cities that want to give sanctuary to illegals is decidedly UNCONSTITUTIONAL! What kind of crap are you peddling?

  21. Surely there’s some commerce clause twisting that could allow it, right?

    Otherwise just remove any offers of LEO reciprocity. Deny assistance from the FBI for local cases. Remove any support for Marshals to transport fugitives for prosecution in the offending states. Remove TSA agents from their airports (wait, that may be a good thing). Pull all DEA and Border Patrol agents back to the border of the next closest compliant state.

  22. Horseshit. Sanctuary cities are in violation of federal law and you can’t have a massive welfare state with open borders. That’s the end of a free society. I can’t stand Sessions’ out of date views on marijuana and the drug war in general, but he’s 100% in the right here. He should lay off of states on marijuana and go after sanctuary cities and sanctuary states.

  23. Prinze has nothing to do with “sanctuary cities”. – it only says that if you compel a State or other entity to commit some action, you have to compensate them for that action. At worst, DHS might have to compensate them for Room. Ideally, DHS would show up on the doorstep with a Detainer and demand that they individual(s) be turned over to them at that time – individuals that were going to be released anyway. Therefore, no “action” is being imposed upon the State/Local entity.
    I’m sure that DoJ/DHS has some “regulatory authority” to insist that all lockups notify them of the presence of Illegal Aliens, and the anticipated end-point of their stay.
    And no entity has an unbridled right to Federal funding (A.C.O.R.N., anyone?).

  24. But…but…safety!

  25. Just every last illegal and stuff remember into every last sanctuary city.

  26. even if Reason is right on this issue and Sessions is wrong, there are two aspects to this fight which are going to put some cities in a tight spot. First , if Sessions cut off funding and the cities sue to get the funding, there is going to be a several month or longer delay in the cities actually receiving the money. some cities like Chicago are broke and stretched to the limit. Any delays in getting monies means they have to borrow more to plug the gap. In Chicago’s case that means paying much higher interest rates. Second , demanding money from the Feds to protect illegals puts the local politicians in a bad light with some of their constituents.

    Finally , all of the constitutional arguments against sessions plan,only applies to existing grants, not to new grants. Over several years, expect to see new funding for Sanctuary cities shrink or disappear. Every time a mayor or governor goes to Congress with his or her hand out begging for bucks , the question about sanctuary will be asked . Same for the agencies that disperse the funds

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