President Trump directed federal workers Wednesday to start building a border wall and begin punishing so-called sanctuary cities and is considering dramatically limiting the flow of people from other countries, including a ban on Syrian refugees, in a flurry of steps that could fundamentally reshape how the United States deals with immigration, security and the war on terrorism.It's that last part that's at issue here and this is the Executive Order. Section 2 of the order reads:
Trump signed two executive orders designed to begin building the wall, add lockups for detaining immigrants who cross the border illegally, enhance enforcement power for border agents and strip federal funding to cities that refuse to cooperate with immigration enforcement.
It is the policy of the executive branch to ensure that jurisdictions that fail to comply with applicable Federal law do not receive Federal funds, except as mandated by law;And then Section 8 reads:
Federal-State Agreements. It is the policy of the executive branch to empower State and local law enforcement agencies across the country to perform the functions of an immigration officer in the interior of the United States to the maximum extent permitted by law.And then in Section 9, we read:
In furtherance of this policy, the Attorney General and the Secretary, in their discretion and to the extent consistent with law, shall ensure that jurisdictions that willfully refuse to comply with 8 U.S.C. 1373 (sanctuary jurisdictions) are not eligible to receive Federal grants, except as deemed necessary for law enforcement purposes by the Attorney General or the Secretary. The Secretary has the authority to designate, in his discretion and to the extent consistent with law, a jurisdiction as a sanctuary jurisdiction. The Attorney General shall take appropriate enforcement action against any entity that violates 8 U.S.C. 1373, or which has in effect a statute, policy, or practice that prevents or hinders the enforcement of Federal law.This is not going down well with some of our nation's mayors:
In the past 24 hours, President Trump has signaled sweeping federal intervention in the way local and state officials carry out policing, treat immigrants and run elections, setting off a wave of defiance and apprehension from leaders of some of America’s largest cities.One of them is Bill Peduto, Mayor of Pittsburgh. He released a statement that reads, in part:
In an executive order signed Wednesday, Trump directed the Department of Homeland Security to find ways to defund cities and jurisdictions out of step with his immigration priorities. That action — which could cost sanctuary cities including Washington, New York and Los Angeles millions of dollars — is the latest in a series of moves where Trump has appeared willing to step on state-level or municipal prerogatives.
In the scuffle, U.S. mayors have emerged as key players in the resistance to Trump’s agenda.
The residents of Pittsburgh stand tonight with cities all across our nation. Pittsburgh was built by immigrants, who came to our city to find work in our steel mills and who forged a better life for their families. Like my grandparents, they came to America for opportunity, and they built America. We stand on their shoulders, and we owe it to them to preserve opportunities for current and future generations. Just as our past was built by immigrants, so too will be our future.We've dealt with this before. That's the blog post where I quoted Antonin Scalia who wrote:
Let's be clear: the President's executive order will not make us safer. It will not advance the principles upon which our nation and our cities were founded. It will further divide us as a city and as a nation. Pittsburgh joins tonight with other cities across the country and we stand ready to fight this unprecedented and this unconstitutional act. We will resist, with all powers at our disposal, any attempt to commandeer our local law enforcement officers into a national deportation army.
The Federal Government's power would be augmented immeasurably and impermissibly if it were able to impress into its service--and at no cost to itself--the police officers of the 50 States.And here I thought the GOP was in favor of a limited government, of states' rights and so on.
But hey, you know who else thinks Trump's order is unconstitutional? Someone I've tussled with in the past, George Mason University legal scholar Ilya Somin:
Yesterday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order denying federal funding to sanctuary cities – jurisdictions that choose not to cooperate with federal efforts to deport undocumented immigrants. The order has serious constitutional problems. Unless interpreted very narrowly, it is both unconstitutional and a very dangerous precedent.And so on.
Anyway, kudos to Bill Peduto for being on the right side of history on this.