Sanctuary Cities

A Supreme Court Decision About Sports Betting May Help Protect Sanctuary Cities from the Feds

A rule covering immigration communications between state and federal officials may be unconstitutional.

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Jeff Sessions
Michael Brochstein/Sipa USA/Newscom

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been trying to force sanctuary cities to help the feds track down and deport illegal immigrants. Unfortunately for Sessions, the courts are questioning the constitutionality of the law he's invoking.

Chicago is a "sanctuary city"—that is, a place where officials typically do not ask residents' immigration status in many cases do not cooperate with federal officials in detaining illegal immigrants. Sessions has been attempting to force such cities to be more cooperative by threatening their access to federal grant funds. One of his demands is that these cities affirm their compliance with Section 1373 of the United States code.

Section 1373 doesn't actually require that cities or states assist the federal government in catching or booting out illegal immigrants. But it prohibits states and cities from doing anything (including passing laws or ordinances) that would stop any local government officials from communicating with federal immigration officials about an individual's residency or immigration status. Sounds like a pretty powerful tool for Sessions—except that judges are now declaring Section 1373 an unconstitutional imposition on states' autonomy.

Today the U.S. District Court for the Northeastern District of Illinois Eastern Division ruled that Sessions cannot use Section 1373 to push sanctuary cities into compliace. "In the end," the court ruled, "Section 1373 requires local policymakers to stand aside and allow the federal government to conscript the time and cooperation of local employees. This robs the local executive of its autonomy and ties the hands of the local legislature. Such affronts to State sovereignty are not countenanced by the anticommandeering principle of the Constitution. Section 1373 is unconstitutional and cannot stand."

This is not the first federal judge to rule that Section 1373 is unconstitutional. Another one made a similar ruling on behalf of Philadelphia in June. Ilya Somin analyzed that ruling over at The Volokh Conspiracy.

In both cases, a new legal development is contributing to these rulings. Remember back in May, when the Supreme Court decided that the feds don't have the authority to stop states from legalizing sports gambling? The court ruled that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 overreached and violated the lawmaking powers of the states under the 10th Amendment.

That ruling, Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, is now being used as a precedent to declare Section 1373 unconstitutional for the exact same reasons. District Judge Harry D. Leinenweber pulled extensively from Murphy ruling in deciding against Sessions.

This is hardly the last word. The judge's ruling today came in response to a motion from Sessions to dismiss the case (the judge declined) and a request from the City of Chicago for a partial summary judgment that the Justice Department overstepped its authorities by attempting to tie grant funding to immigration cooperation (the judge granted). The injunction is limited only to Chicago, though the full appeals court will consider a possible nationwide injunction. The case is scheduled to be argued in September.

Read the ruling for yourself here.

NEXT: As the New York Subway Melts Down, the City Moves to Cap the Number of Ubers and Lyfts on the Streets

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  1. “Section 1373 requires local policymakers to stand aside and allow the federal government to conscript the time and cooperation of local employees.”

    I trust that conscripting the time and cooperation of taxpayers will also be found unconstitutional.

    1. Those have been found constitutional. Maybe they shouldn’t be, but that’s the current legal status.

      However, if the federal government can attach conditions to highway funding, healthcare spending, and education funding, it seems weird that it shouldn’t be allowed to do so for policing.

      1. Congress did not authorize those restrictions in the law.

        I think current theory is that even Congressional restrictions must be germane to the goal of the law. Tying funding unrelated to immigration enforcement would be unconstitutional.

        1. Well ideally, Sessions would get off his ass and criminally prosecute every one of these officials behind this scantuary city crap as vigorously as possible.

      2. There’s a difference between withholding funds for failure to implement some road safety features and commanding state legislatures to pass or not pass certain laws. The feds are quite free to ban interstate gambling; what they can’t do is tell states to now allow intrastate gambling. The feds could probably win some sort of commerce clause case, but they haven’t tried.

  2. so if states don’t want to cooperate with the federal government then why are they a part of the union. Well maybe the next time there is a state emergency the union will not cooperate with the states. its a two way street if you want help with “A” then you have to help with “B”

    1. That would be especially sweet applied to California.

      1. Also to all of the states that refused Medicaid expansion, am I right?

    2. We don’t call the feds to enforce a parking regulations. It’s reasonable to say that the local police do not need to spend their time enforcing federal laws and policies.

      1. they do call the feds for bank robberies and kidnapping etc but choose not to on this one item.


  3. But it prohibits states and cities from doing anything (including passing laws or ordinances) that would stop any local government officials from communicating with federal immigration officials about an individual’s residency or immigration status.

    Because remember when certain cities made it illegal for employees that work for them to speak with the FedGov at all? Sessions may be an asshole, but why is it ‘illegal’ for the FedGov to require this or that to receive funding again? I mean, it’s done across the board for various other programs so…?

    Also, Sessions is a jackass for sure but Chicago isn’t exactly a haven of upright politicians itself.

    1. Given that the main reason for these “sanctuaries” seems to be to increase the number of Democrats in the House, well… who doesn’t want that?!

      1. The Democrats undid the sin of the 3/5 rule by counting each illegal immigrant on their lands as an entire person who cannot vote in local elections.

  4. Folks, aiding or inducing people to stay illegally in the US is already illegal under federal law, and that is clearly what “sanctuary cities” are doing. It makes no more sense to allow cities to break those federal laws than it would be to allow cities to murder citizens just because they pass a law that that allows/mandates it.

    1. I think it’s closer to if a city decided to not prosecute murder. Though I don’t know what the legal consequence would be of that either.

      1. There is no federal law against not prosecuting a murder. If states decided to decriminalize murder (or drugs), that isn’t illegal per se under federal law (although it might violate equal protection or some other constitutional principle).

        Inducing, sheltering, and aiding illegal immigrants is itself a criminal act. So for a city or state creating such laws is equivalent to laws that mandate a criminal act to be committed, not to laws that decriminalize an act.

        1. They are doing none of that. They are processing people per their procedures. There is no sheltering or aiding.

          They are just refusing to be conscripted by the federal government.

          1. There is no sheltering or aiding.

            sanc?tu?ar?y
            /?saNGk(t)SH??wer?/
            noun
            1. a place of refuge or safety.

            1. What actions were undertaken by the states?

              1. The point is if you want to claim you’re not actively aiding someone, don’t call yourself a “sanctuary”.

                1. Ahhhh. semantics. That’s important! Word crimes.

                  1. And little games the disingenuous ones you play. Classic proggy weasel arguments when there isn’t really a good faith argument t be had.

        2. Not even close.

          not reporting a crime is not considered and never has been considered aiding and abettimg.

    2. Most states execute people. It is different when the government does it.

  5. Propaganda/manipulation: “A Supreme Court Decision About Sports Betting May Help Protect Sanctuary Cities from the Feds”

    Responsible journalism: “A Supreme Court Decision About Sports Betting May Allow Certain Cities to Refuse to Cooperate with Federal Authorities on Immigration Enforcement”

    1. Anti-government individualist angle: “A Supreme Court Decision About Sports Betting May Help Protect Sanctuary Cities from the Feds”

      Statist smooches: “A Supreme Court Decision About Sports Betting May Allow Certain Cities to Refuse to Cooperate with Federal Authorities on Immigration Enforcement”

    2. Responsible journalism: “A Supreme Court Decision About Sports Betting May Allow Certain Cities to Refuse to Cooperate with Federal Authorities on Immigration Enforcement remain sovereign”

      FTFY.

      1. There was supposed to be certain states to. Argh.

  6. Besides turning federal grants into entitlements, you know another way of stopping an attorney general from forcing lower governments from doing their own will? Ending federal grants altogether. But I suppose this is the next best thing.

  7. Again, the established stance of the judiciary that the state governments cannot pass a law for their law enforcement agencies to enforce immigration law for reason that it might inhibit the federal government’s constitutionally mandated responsibility for enforcing such law seems contradictory to this. This, rather low court on the totem pole, is saying that the states can actively and passively hinder the federal government’s ability to enforce federal law constitutionally delegated to the feds. Regulating intrastate sports betting is not a power clearly delegated to the federal government.

    That seems a stupid conclusion, results driven conclusion by the court.

    1. They are not hindering anything. They are merely not taking actions, as is their right under the tenth amendment. They can’t stop ICE from coming, but they sure can not call them if they don’t want to. They can disregard any requests from ICE if they don’t want to.

      It’s amazing how supposed libertarians forget states’ rights when it inconveniences Republicans.

      1. It’s amazing how supposed libertarians forget states’ rights when it inconveniences Republicans.

        It is indeed. But it is no different from Democrats suddenly remembering that big government is not best government.

        1. The difference is Democrats don’t actually campaign on big government as a belief. Democrats campaign on government helping where it’s needed and beneficial to the country.

          Republicans campaign on states’ rights and small government and balanced budgets, but govern on big government, federal power, and deficits.

          1. Democrats don’t actually campaign on big government as a belief.

            No wonder you’re so happy! Ignorance is bliss, they say.

          2. Seriously, that is such typical Big Lie propaganda. Do you really think no one here is laughing their ass off at you? It’s not even good trolling. It’s just bizarre how anyone can type that.

            1. Big government has never been a slogan of the Democrats. It’s an epithet by the Republicans.

              States’ rights is a slogan of libertarians, Libertarians, and Republicans.

            2. “Democrats don’t actually campaign on big government as a belief. Democrats campaign on government helping where it’s needed and beneficial”

              This really is one of the funniest things I’ve ever read. I’d give OBL an A for it, and I could also see this coming from Tony or Hihn

              1. All kinds of entertaining bullshit coming from this Chandler turd today!

          3. Yes, the Democrats campaign on free stuff and they generally don’t show the manacles that come with it until the program.is in place. They certainly did not campaign on the idea that “universal healthcare” would involve fining people for not signing up for their vision of it.

            1. Actually, that was part of the debate. It was a Republican idea, implemented under Romney in Massachusetts. That was a bone of contention in the Democratic Primary in ’08, Obama initially suggested he could do it without a mandate, and Clinton said it was necessary. Between the primary and general, Obama’s plan added the mandate. The ACA was never promised to be universal or free.

              Trump promised health care for everybody, cheaper, and without cutting Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security, as well as increasing the military, and infrastructure bill, and tax cuts, all without increasing the deficit.

              Who promised more free stuff?

              1. The Heritage Foundation proposal was for catastrophic coverage only, not the bloated micromanaging of every plan extent. I thought the requirement to purchase at least at plan was offensive to liberty when I first heard about it. The Massachusetts plan was from their Democrat controlled legislature, Romney (to his discredit) did not get in their way.

                Do not mischaracterize the history to shift the blame.

      2. Apparently it is not state’s rights if the state wants to assist in enforcing immigration law. It is the contradiction that makes me think this ruling does not logically progress from constitutional principles.

      3. as a citizen if you have a criminal in your residence and do not tell the police when they ask you will be arrested for aiding and abetting so the state is doing the same thing to the federal government by not responding. Making a phone call to the authority in charge is not hard yet like the girl who was killed in San Fran the local police specifically let the criminal go to avoid ICE. that is aiding a criminal but thats okay because ???

        1. If the police ask, you can refuse to answer. That’s not a crime.
          The police were not hiding people. They were just not holding them at a request of the federal government. The federal government doesn’t have the right to tell the police what to do.

          1. They are absolutely aiding and abetting illegals who are in violation of the law just by being here.

    2. it is not saying they can hinder the feds. It is saying they can require their local forces to not cooperate.

      The Federal government has never been able to coint on local coopetation, let alone compell it.

  8. There actually is a difference between the feds ordering a state or local employee to tell them something, and the feds prohibiting the state or local government from forbidding its employee from telling the feds whatever.

    In the first case, the employee is having their choice taken away by the feds. In the second, the feds are just prohibiting the state from taking the employee’s choice away.

    Unfortunately, the judge in this case seems to have overlooked the distinction; Section 1373 doesn’t conscript state employees, it merely forbids states from ordering those employees not to voluntarily cooperate with the federal government.

    It doesn’t say they have to cooperate.

    1. So, the federal government has a say in how states manage their employees?

      1. Absolutely. States cannot violate the Constitutional rights of their employees, after all.

        If a state employee writes a book, the state cannot fire them for doing so, even if state law forbids state employees from writing.

  9. Hopefully, Trump will not follow a Clinton precedent to arrest people seeking sanctuary where the feds are not welcomed.

  10. By the logic of this article, my town can pass a law that prohibits police from cooperating with feds who investigate a Tittle IX claim on one of the college campuses here. That might make enrollment here go up, thereby stimulating the economy through the addition of residents who want to avoid Tittle IX regulations.

    1. It would imply that, but I think this ruling is results based logic that this court would not apply to any other issue than immigration enforcement.

    2. Police aren’t generally involved in title IX claims anyway.
      Colleges are subject to Title IX, because it is directly related to providing an equal education.

      1. And a large number of colleges are state run entities. The logic should still apply, if it was honestly arrived at.

  11. “Section 1373 requires local policymakers to stand aside and allow the federal government to conscript the time and cooperation of local employees.

    I don’t know, that’s not how I read it.

    It certainly prevents local policymakers from stepping in and preventing local cooperation, but not having a local policy preventing a state agency from cooperating with the Feds is not the same as mandating that cooperation.

    I’m all for non-cooperation between local and Federal agencies on *anything* that isn’t a violent or property crime, but I really don’t see, in light of things like the ‘national speed limit’ and the 21 year drinking age, how precedent doesn’t allow the Feds to attach strings to the money they funnel back to their cronies. I mean, what’s the point of funding cronies if they won’t do what you want?

    1. The national speed limit was and the drinking age is directly related to road safety, so it is legitimate to condition road funding on it.

      Immigration enforcement is not part of community policing, so it is illegitimate to condition community policing funding on it.

      1. neither relates to road safety and neither were sold as road safety measures.

        the NSL was implemented as an *energy conservation measure*

  12. Sanctuary cities are illegal
    The officials responsible should be prosecuted
    8 U.S. Code ? 1324 – Bringing in and harboring certain aliens
    http://bit.ly/2ErBBNQ

    (a) Criminal penalties
    (1)
    (A) Any person who?
    (i) knowing that a person is an alien, brings to or attempts to bring to the United States in any manner whatsoever such person at a place other than a designated port of entry or place other than as designated by the Commissioner, regardless of whether such alien has received prior official authorization to come to, enter, or reside in the United States and regardless of any future official action which may be taken with respect to such alien;
    (ii) 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, transports, or moves or attempts to transport or move such alien within the United States by means of transportation or otherwise, in furtherance of such violation of law;
    (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;

    1. (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
      (v)
      (I) engages in any conspiracy to commit any of the preceding acts, or
      (II) aids or abets the commission of any of the preceding acts,
      shall be punished as provided in subparagraph (B).

      1. sanctuary cities do none of this.

        1. Sanctuary cities do all of that.

  13. You’re aware it is not that difficult to simply write legislation requiring abiding by all federal laws to be able to acquire grants, right?

  14. And I do want to see states and cities become gun sanctuary states/cities. All gun laws federally are null and void and all background check obligations federally do not exist. Have the GOP pass a law requiring states to honor state gun licenses as they do with marriage ones and we can kill off gun control.

    1. You have a point there. Unlike immigration, there is no federally enumerated power of the federal government to regulate firearms.

  15. I womder if there is a constitutional avenue to hold scantuary cities civilly amd can riminally liable for the criminal actions of any illegals detained and not turned over to the feds. The only legitimate thing that occurs to me would be something related to civil rights violations.

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