Sanctuary Cities

GOP Pushes Bad, Punitive Anti-Federalist Immigration Bills Through the House

Rep. Justin Amash breaks from party and rejects both bills, citing constitutional violations.

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Richard B. Levine/Newscom

House Republicans overwhelmingly voted in favor of two bad immigration-focused bills yesterday that potentially punish those in the United States illegally with new harsh prison sentences and attempts to push cities into helping federal authorities deport people.

The first bill, popularly known as "Kate's Law," adds new criminal penalties and federal prison sentences to any immigrant who returns to the United States after being deported for criminal behavior. But it also threatens up to 10 years in federal prison for illegal immigrants who repeatedly return to the United States after being deported, even if they've committed no other crimes. It also forbids the immigrant from challenging the legitimacy of any prior removal orders.

The second bill, the "No Sanctuary for Criminals Act," attempts to push cities, particularly so-called "sanctuary cities," into cooperating with federal immigration officials to detain and eject those in the country illegally.

President Donald Trump (and many, many other Republicans) made a big deal about fighting sanctuary cities—which generally don't ask residents or people who interact with government officials about their citizenship status—on the campaign trail.

But after Trump took office, his Department of Justice was faced with an awkward truth: Most sanctuary cities are not defying federal laws at all, and there's not much the government can currently do about them. Federal laws do not require that cities and local law enforcement assist immigration officials by detaining people the feds want to deport. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) can ask cities to hold illegal immigrants for in "detainer orders." But they're requests. Cities have their own rules about when they'll comply with such orders (often requiring court orders or a warrant for cooperation).

Ultimately after the Department of Justice started threatening federal grant money to sanctuary cities, they ended up discovering that really only a handful of governments (eight cities and one county) are behaving in a way that was even remotely in defiance of federal authority.

What the "No Sanctuary for Criminals Act" does is forbid municipalities from stopping local law enforcement officials from helping federal immigration officials by complying with detainer orders. In areas of immigration enforcement, it overrules the ability of cities to control the behavior of their own law enforcement officers.

The act also classifies specifically which grants the federal government would withhold from sanctuary cities that defy them. Previously the administration through executive order threaten to withhold all sorts of federal grants, but the courts have previously ruled such behavior unconstitutional. The grants have to be connected to enforcing the laws themselves. This act specifically defines which grants could be denied sanctuary cities.

The votes fell mostly across party lines—Republicans in favor of the two bills and Democrats against them. More Democrats were willing to cross the aisle to vote in favor of harsher criminal sentences for illegal immigrants than to cut federal grants from sanctuary cities, so make of that what you will.

Only one Republican voted against both bills, libertarian Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan. Amash tweeted his reasons why. He found both bills to significantly violate the Constitution and the concept of federalism:

A spokesperson for Amash's office told Reason, "Rep. Amash supports securing our borders and has voted to defund sanctuary cities, but these bills go far beyond that and are unconstitutional."

Though the legislation passed the House, it has a challenge getting through a Senate where Republicans hold just a slim majority. As it stands, Republican Senators have their own ideas on what this legislation should look like, and they're combining Kate's Law with other punitive immigration policies in one massive bill designed to find more ways to throw people into federal prison.

These bills represent attacks on immigrants that aren't backed up by data. There is little evidence that illegal immigrants are a source of crime that justifies new, harsher federal criminal penalties and the data suggests otherwise. Furthermore, it's utterly inappropriate for the federal government to try to overrule a state or city's control over its own law enforcement officers.

Below, ReasonTV explains what Republicans don't understand about sanctuary cities:

NEXT: The GOP Health-Care Reform Plans Are Worse Than Useless: Nick Gillespie on Kennedy

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  1. The first bill, popularly known as “Kate’s Law,” adds new criminal penalties and federal prison sentences to any immigrant who returns to the United States after being deported for criminal behavior. But it also threatens up to 10 years in federal prison for illegal immigrants who repeatedly return to the United States after being deported, even if they’ve committed no other crimes. It also forbids the immigrant from challenging the legitimacy of any prior removal orders.

    How is this Anti-Federalist as the headline claims?

    1. Hell, how is it even anti-immigration?

      1. It’s arguably anti-nativist. If I commit a crime as a native-born U.S. citizen, can I get deportation as an option?

        1. Y’know what we should do if, as some around here like to say, border’s don’t really exist is go down south and invade with our military so that these poor Mexican folks get their natural rights respected. If there are no borders, we really have no reason not do that and every reason to do it. If people’s natural rights are being trampled on, and remember those rights apply to everyone since God gave them to us, we have an obligation to see that citizens of the world have them respected.

          Right now, they aren’t respected pretty much all over the world. We have a lot of wars domestic police work to do all over the planet to fix this gross injustice.

          Thanks anti-border Libertarians, I’ve seen the light!

          1. invade with our military

            Whose military? I certainly don’t have one.

            we really have no reason not do that

            There are many reasons to not do that. And of course borders exist (on maps and in people’s heads). The question is whether you harm anyone when you cross one.

            If people’s natural rights are being trampled on…we have an obligation

            Nope.

            1. So you believe in Utopia based on the inherent goodness of man. That’s adorable, Juice.

              1. I’m making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life.

                This is what I do… http://www.onlinecareer10.com

            2. I think he was clearly being sarcastic.

          2. It’s just so *mean* to stand by and do nothing while Mexicans are being abused by their government in Mexico.

            Won’t anyone think of the Mexican children?

            *Muh feelz*!

          3. How about simply reciprocal immigration laws? Here are Mexico’s current laws:

            http://www.americanthinker.com…..olicy.html

    2. I believe the contention with it being anti-federalist is because of the separation of powers between States and the FedGov, which seems fair since those cops don’t work for the FedGov.

      That being said though, doesn’t Federal law preempt State law?

      For example, if the FedGov says that jaywalking is illegal doesn’t that mean that local police can arrest you for jaywalking even if it isn’t illegal in their state? Maybe not. It’s a finer point of criminal law that I have no clue about.

      If local jurisdictions don’t need to follow federal law, well then that’s an interesting point to be making across the board. I’m guessing this is how some states are able to decriminalize pot. It seems analogous.

      1. In the balance of power between the federal and state governments, immigration law is one of those few places where Congress actually has power to act. Unlike pretty much everything else the government does.

        The constitutional difficultly is that the federal government cannot force the states to spend money to enforce federal law. If California doesn’t want to enforce federal immigration law or assist La Migra, it doesn’t have to. But the feds can enforce the law with their own resources within California, and Congress can (somewhat) condition appropriations to California upon their compliance/assistance with federal law.

        1. Genuine question, since I don’t know the answer, but is the Federal Government allowed to impose extra federal taxes on different states or does it need to be uniform?

          1. Taxes have to be uniform, but fees could be specific.

            “The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;”

            And no I don’t have specifics to offer. But I’d imagine a port fee could be different in LA versus Charleston. So uniform to anyone in that port, but different from location to location based in local conditions.

            1. Excellent use of comments. No snark, just cogent, civil back-and-forth.

            2. Ah ha, I had forgotten the end to that bit there. Thanks for the memory refresh. I assumed that was the case since no state would have ratified if they could be explicitly singled out for far higher taxation.

              I don’t think there’s really a way to stem the ‘tide’ of illegal immigration here in the United States simply because of the incentives themselves, but they’re welcome to try I suppose. From what I’ve seen, our actual government representatives don’t want to acknowledge that though, which seems like a problem.

              Endless Clintonesque amnesty isn’t really a plan so much as a lack of one.

              1. Attacking the incentives would be the best way but apparently that’s too complicated for our federal masters to see any way to allow necessary seasonal/temporary workers and crack down on those employing illegal workers.

                One way would be to use employment agencies to manage foreign workers like major companies do to avoid IRS problems with contract workers they use.
                Make foreign workers work through agency that then contracts with employers for seasonal or temporary workers.
                The agency is the actual employer responsible for wages and benefits and could be held accountable for ensuring that workers wages, medical needs, taxes and other such items are handled correctly according to current laws.
                The federals could manage a few hundred agencies much more efficiently than managing millions of employers.

          2. The states, as individual entities, don’t pay taxes to FEDGOV. That all comes from individuals and businesses. Tax money only moves in the opposite direction, from FEDGOV to states or other government entities – counties, cities, towns, etc.
            It’s how FEDGOV exerts control over everything, and funds itself, to boot.
            Think about it: You get the most government services from your local government – police, fire, EMS, public works – yet that is probably the least of your yearly tax burden, with the biggest chunk going to DC, who distributes it, along with control, with a little being taken out, at every level it must go through, as its share.
            What a system, amirite?

            1. Actually, it’s the other way around. I pay more in local sales tax, state gas tax, and property taxes than I pay to the Feds.

              Sucks to be poor…

          3. Genuine question, since I don’t know the answer, but is the Federal Government allowed to impose extra federal taxes on different states or does it need to be uniform?

            The federal government can send different amounts of money back to the states, it can choose where to spend money, and it can charge states for things they do that cost other states. All of those could be used as part of immigration enforcement.

        2. Pete, are you jacking it, like, as you type? Cuz that shit’s hoss as fuck.

        3. And the Fed doesn’t have to give them anything.The Deep Blue States will soon be singing the blues & their citizens will start turning red.

        4. The Constitution gives the Congress power over naturalization, which encompasses immigration.
          What some, including Amash, seem to forget is the last power granted: The “necessary and proper” clause.
          To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.
          Looks like, and it has been so ruled, that FEDGOV gets to do a lot that isn’t covered in Art. 1, Sec 8. so long as it fits this category.
          Federalism, the 10th Amendment, etc is for powers not granted. Immigration isn’t one of those.

          1. The “necessary and proper” clause applies only within the scope of those powers specifically delegated to the feds (Article 1, Section 8 and a couple amendments.) It grants no authority outside those explicit delegations. I understand the misinterpretations of that simple English text that some have taken as additional grants of authority. However, lawyers in robes have no authority to grant additional powers. The more we rely on precedent, the farther we stray from the facts of the clear words of the Constitution.

      2. The Sanctuary Cities Bill may be Anti-Federalist, but “Kate’s Law” is all about the Feds getting tough on people who repeatedly enter the country illegally. It’s got nothing to do with the States or local law enforcement.

      3. “For example, if the FedGov says that jaywalking is illegal doesn’t that mean that local police can arrest you for jaywalking even if it isn’t illegal in their state?”

        The FedGov has never been granted the authority to make laws regarding jaywalking, so that was not a great example. Check Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution for the list of about 18 things Congress has been granted the authority to do. They picked up a few (very few) more via subsequent amendments, but the list is pretty specific. For all other areas of human activity, see Amendment 10. Most of what the feds do now is outside their scope of authority.

    3. Re: MiloMinderbinder,

      How is this Anti-Federalist as the headline claims?

      All bills presented by Congress and/or the Senate will be anti-Federalist by definition.

      1. Federalism is for powers not dealt with in Article 1, Sections 8,9 and 10, as stated in Amendment 10.
        Congress – of which The Senate is a part – gets to pass laws that are not anti-federalist, though frequently they go beyond those boundaries, with a very thin veneer of justification from there.

    4. “t also forbids the immigrant from challenging the legitimacy of any prior removal orders.”

      Doesn’t every person have the right to appeal, i.e. face their accuser in trial?

      1. Will the courts entertain you appealing your case after the sentence, in this case previous deportations, has already been completed.

        1. Deportation hearings do not provide what common law considers due process: a trial with a jury of peers and a right to representation or appeals. What does exist is a federal meat grinder with a handful of judges rubber stamping the armed kidnapping, forced detention & rendition of thousands upon thousands of individuals whose primary “crime” is pursuing an honest wage in a free market without the express consent of their US state overlords. While the beauracratic state continues to expand in the scope scale & violence of it’s operations, lawyers in this country are still willing to argue with a straight face that actual criminal imprisonment still requires due process as enshrined in the Constitution.

          1. whose primary “crime” is pursuing an honest wage in a free market

            That’s not what they are doing. What they are actually doing is taking advantage of infrastructure and government services paid out of my tax dollars.

      2. Doesn’t every person have the right to appeal, i.e. face their accuser in trial?

        Immigration proceedings aren’t criminal trials.

        Furthermore, even if it were a criminal trial, you can lose rights through procedural errors. Saying that you lose your right to challenging prior removal orders by entering the country illegally again is in that category.

  2. “Furthermore, it’s utterly inappropriate for the federal government to try to overrule a state or city”

    Now do bathrooms and marriage. Or does federalism only work one way? Maybe that’s the weakness of the argument being presented here

    1. The hypocrisy of this article is so blatant it’s ridiculous. If you want to invoke federalism, then by all means do so. But, to selectively scream ‘federalism’ just because you don’t like a law reveals one to be an inconsistent hypocrite. Not to mention that there’s a better argument to be made for federal control of immigration policy than there is with regards to marriage contracts and bathroom laws.

      1. Never underestimate Reason‘s enthusiasm for anything that will result in the importation of voters who will cast ballots against liberty.

        1. Boom!

          Cucktarians.

          If you’re going to destroy Liberty in the US, wouldn’t you target “Libertarian” magazines for your ideological control?

          Don’t be obvious. And don’t kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. Just turn editorial policy on your most important strategic issues.

          Let them have their ass sex and pot. Just stamp out opposition to your means of gaining permanent power. Better yet, get libertarians to *support* it! All the better to crush the will of libertarians when they eventually realize they enthusiastically supported the tactic which ensured their enslavement.

          1. Making a portmanteau of “cuck” and “libertarian” is redundant. “Libertarian” is sufficient all on it’s own.

        2. Exactly why I ceased being a Libertarian,tho am still libertarian.

      2. Well, I’m a fair-weather federalist myself. It’s not like I have some adherence to the principles of federalism or anti-federalism. I’ll side with the state or the feds if that side happens to favor more freedom in whatever that particular case may be.

    2. Outstanding. Love the box you built, there.

  3. As long as it restricts immigration from Canada, I’m good with it.

    1. Keep those snowbacks out! BUILD THE WALL!

      1. We don’t need a wall. Just let global warming melt the ice, and their skates will be useless on open water.

    2. Perhaps we take Canadian political refuseniks as their pomo thought police increase their crackdown.

  4. Republican Senators have their own ideas on what this legislation should look like, and they’re combining Kate’s Law with other punitive immigration policies in one massive bill designed to find more ways to throw people into federal prison.

    Yay, an immigration omnibus bill! What could go wrong?

    1. omnibus is congress-speak for creating smoke to hide what you are really doing.

  5. Anti-Federalist Immigration Bills

    Are Federal borders not in the Constitutional purview of the Federal Gov’t? Do States have some kind of foreign policy powers that I am unaware of?

    1. Federal borders?

      1. Yes. United States Borders, that is to day Fereral borders. Not Texas borders, not North Dakota borders, not Alaska borders, not New York borders, not San Diego borders….

        Get it yet?

    2. Aren’t these the same people who were trying to tell us immigration was under the purview of the federal government when Arizona passed legislation to restrict it? So why is it now suddenly an anti-federalist issue when the federal government exercises a prerogative Reason insisted they had when a state tried to legislate on the matter?

      1. Because Reason is entirely loathesome on this issue? Every bit as loathesome as leftards crying about corporations? Every inch as exasperating as SJWtards crying about whatever? Entirely as mendacious as Maddow blaming Detroit on “right-wing policies?” Because they let Dahlmia fling her scat herd?

        Yes. Yep. Uh-huh.

      2. Because open borders at any price, no matter what, or something.

    3. US Constitution, Art. I, Sec. 9:
      The migration or importation of such persons as any of the states now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a tax or duty may be imposed on such importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each person.

      Addresses Congress enumerated power to regulate slaves and migrants after 1808.

  6. annex Mexico.

    1. Ay, Carumba!

    2. No, thank you. The main problem with Mexico is Mexicans as reflected in the governments they repeatedly vote for.

    3. How about ceding California to Mexico? That would take care of most of these problems and then some.

  7. Yes, the federal government getting the local governments to o their business is overreach, but I’ve had it with being “compassionate” with these folks that so flagrantly violate out laws. And it’s time to go after the folks who hire illegal aliens.

    1. “our” laws

  8. But after Trump took office, his Department of Justice was faced with an awkward truth: Most sanctuary cities are not defying federal laws at all

    They can’t be forced to enforce federal law, but they likely run afoul of federal law through policies associated with sanctuary cities.

    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, including any building or any means of transportation;
    (iv) encourages or induces an alien to come to, enter, or reside in the United States, knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that such coming to, entry, or residence is or will be in violation of law; or

    Arguably a sanctuary city policy in itself violates both these provisions.

    1. In virtually every “sanctuary” policy, they try to get away with making all kinds of rules to thwart immigration activities in their jurisdiction but include a caveat: except where it would violate federal laws
      It’s almost as laughable as all of the ones, who are now saying: “Sanctuary City/State/County? No, not us. That’s the other guy. Don’t cut off our money.”

  9. GOP Pushes
    Bad,
    Punitive
    Anti-Federalist Immigration Bills

    It’s bad, m’kay?
    Laws that punish – well I never!
    Immigration is explicitly a federal matter in the Constitution.

    The Open Border Uber Alles only support is clueless hysteria like this.

    “But muh feelz!”

  10. Either the Feds have pre-empted the field in Immigration Law enforcement (per SCOTUS ruling in AZ SB-1070), or it hasn’t.
    Now, according to Prinz, they can’t compel any action by lower jurisdictions without assuming fiscal responsibility for that action, but then neither can the states interfere/impede with the actions of Fed LE . Plus, we have the precedent of the National Minimum Drinking Age where the Feds can hold over the heads of the states Federal Funds (barely) connected to the issue that they can withhold absent the cooperation of the states in the matter.
    I think we can fairly say that the issue may be “complicated”, but that the Federal Government has a lot of clout on its side.
    One thing in their favor is that depriving the states of Federal Funds is not considered as levying a tax on the states, as there is no “right” to Federal Funds by anyone that hasn’t contracted for same (See: ACORN). So, since you have no “right” to those funds, you have not been deprived of any right by not receiving them.

  11. Remember, all immigration is good immigration. All of it. Every immigrant enhances the collective liberty of the entire human race by crossing an imaginary border.

    Anybody who wants any control, no matter how minor or justified, on the entrance of persons into this country, is literally worse than Oskar Dirlewanger.

    Reasontard magazine hath spoken. Drink ye an appletini and salute the gods of hipster douchebaggery.

    Anyway, yeah, these bills are fucktarded. Glad Amash still has brass balls.

    1. Impressed you mentioned Dirlewanger as a villain.

      Disagree that Amash has balls though. Its bearded tacos all the way down in Congress.

      1. Really? I think at least Amash, Massey, Cruz, and Rand Paul have brass balls. Especially Cruz. I’m not really a fan of his, but he especially has played chicken with the McConnell/Graham wing of the Stupid Party and not blinked.

        Dirlewanger himself was worse than Hitler. He was the sort of crazy sadist who could have only existed in that space and time.

  12. Amash is wrong by passing a law the Court ruling would become invalid. And it’s about time illegals get punished accordingly.Hopefully with these laws in place the illegals will be dissuaded from coming & won’t need to be enforced.

  13. I must have overlooked any mention in the article that the target is illegal aliens who have committed crimes in addition to their original illegal entry into the US.
    And BTW, illegally returning to the US after being deported is itself a felony.

  14. These may be the case, they may not be breaking the law but there needs to be some remedy to protect the Taxpayer. Federal Money is used to support these illegals and I did not fight for this country for them, I fought for Americans and expect my money to be used for Americans not people breaking our laws.

    Illegals depress wages, take jobs and cost the American taxpayer 1.32 Billion a year…. do the math and see how long that takes to equal a trillion… So every 7.5 years or soe the taxpayer adds a trillion dollars to the debt… Ya, that makes sense..

    Let this Cities and States use their own residents money to support them, not mine. Then I have no issue.

    1. These may be the case, they may not be breaking the law

      If you enter the US in violation of US immigration law, you are “breaking the law”. Why is that even a question?

  15. “But it also threatens up to 10 years in federal prison for illegal immigrants who repeatedly return to the United States after being deported, even if they’ve committed no other crimes. ”

    Why the “but?” Is it not sensible to discourage invaders?

  16. I can’t get past “illegally” in your article. What part of “illegal” is to be questioned?

    As far as Constitutionality, the first 10 Amendments don’t “grant” the people “jack”!!! What they do say it that the Federal Government, their employees, and contractors can NOT legislate, decree, or “rule” beyond the very clear statements that each Amendment,,, (state,, sic)!!!
    “These are the chains that bind them” is how Thomas Jefferson described the first 10 Amendments. These Amendments and the “enumerated powers” are what these government “officials” swore or affirmed to honor in the Oath of Office.
    The government simply does not have the authority to violate their Oaths. To do so is a CRIME!

  17. The first bill, popularly known as “Kate’s Law,” adds new criminal penalties and federal prison sentences to any immigrant who returns to the United States after being deported for criminal behavior. But it also threatens up to 10 years in federal prison for illegal immigrants who repeatedly return to the United States after being deported, even if they’ve committed no other crimes. It also forbids the immigrant from challenging the legitimacy of any prior removal orders.

    Seems perfectly reasonable to me. If you want laws to be followed, at some point, you need to enforce them. And other countries are much harsher than this.

  18. I wish we had more elected officials like Rep. Amash.

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