Is the Attorney General's Sanctuary City Federal Grants Decision Legal

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  1. GA Anderson profile image89
    GA Andersonposted 6 years ago

    Attorney General Sessions has announced that sanctuary cities will be denied certain Federal grant's monies due to their non-compliance with federal laws* regarding illegal immigrants.

    I think it is only right that sanctuary cities lose their eligibility for such Federal grants when they decided to not abide by certain Federal immigration laws requirements.

    *note: this premise includes non-compliance with ICE detainee requests

    What say you?

    Here is a link to a Chicago-based news report which includes a video of Sessions Press Briefing statement:
    Sessions Vows To Block Sanctuary Cities From Getting Justice Grants


    1. wilderness profile image95
      wildernessposted 6 years agoin reply to this

      Remember when states lost all road build/repair monies unless they dropped speed limits to 55?  Is there a real difference here?

      Personally, I don't think it goes far enough - when a state decides to ignore the laws (or worse, operate in violation of them) it doesn't need any help from the feds, from roads to justice to schools to EBT.

      1. GA Anderson profile image89
        GA Andersonposted 6 years agoin reply to this

        I can see your comparison to the National Speed Limit Law, and your thought that Federal Grants losses could logically apply to other non-law enforcement grants.

        But I think it is wise, and most fair to citizens that aren't part of the city's decision to be a Sanctuary City, to start with grants relative to law enforcement programs.

        If that doesn't work, than I think an expansion of affected programs is a logical step.


        1. wilderness profile image95
          wildernessposted 6 years agoin reply to this

          This I could agree with as well...given that it WILL expand and not be excused is irrelevant.

          On a side note, aren't there state governors that have made the same decision - to turn the entire state into a sanctuary for those that don't abide by the laws of the nation?  Will those states also lose funding?

    2. RJ Schwartz profile image87
      RJ Schwartzposted 6 years agoin reply to this

      When anyone tries to decide on what laws they will or will not follow, then we are no longer a nation.  If a mayor wants to stand up and directly say that their city will violate the law to make political hay, then that person should be removed from office - what kind of person thinks they are above the law?

      1. profile image0
        ahorsebackposted 6 years agoin reply to this

        RJ  ,    Have you noticed how many mayors are now back-stepping a bit , especially once a real leader steps in and threatens to uphold  the  I.C.E.process  and take away their greatest gift - federal grants ?

    3. Don W profile image81
      Don Wposted 6 years agoin reply to this

      I have some questions.

      Is a distinction made between illegal immigrants and undocumented immigrants in relation to requests from ICE to local law enforcement to detain people based on immigration status?

      Being an undocumented immigrant is not a crime, so on what grounds can an undocumented immigrant be held by law enforcement (to be handed over to ICE) if they have not committed a crime?

      Can ICE order local enforcement to detain people based on immigration status, or can they only request it? If they can only request, doesn't that mean it's voluntary as to whether local law enforcement grant that request or refuse it?

      1. wilderness profile image95
        wildernessposted 6 years agoin reply to this

        No difference...unless you are defining "undocumented" to mean that documents were obtained and either lost or just not carried at the moment.  That is not the normal meaning of the term, so in other conversations there is no difference.

        I don't know that ICE can order it...but at the same time the law is the law and if broken it is not the cop's place to determine that this particular shall not be enforced.  Nor the sheriff's, nor even the judge (unless found unconstitutional).  Now Texas cops have no need to enforce Maine laws while in Texas, because they aren't the law in Texas.  But every federal applies in Texas, and everywhere else, so it is in effective and must be enforced.  That's part of what made it so shocking when the President told Texas lawmakers they could not enforce the laws that the President had decided should not be enforced.

        1. Don W profile image81
          Don Wposted 6 years agoin reply to this

          I think you're right, there is no difference between the terms illegal and undocumented immigrant. But there is a difference between someone who enters the country illegally, and someone who enters the country legally but overstayed. The former is a crime, the latter is not. It's a civil matter, which is why immigration cases are heard in civil court not criminal.

          Can law enforcement detain someone for a civil offense? Can't they only detain someone if they have reason to believe they committed a crime, are committing a crime, or were about to commit a crime? Isn't that why, for example, the police couldn't arrest someone for breaching the terms of a contract?

          1. wilderness profile image95
            wildernessposted 6 years agoin reply to this

            Well now, that would seem to be a matter of definition, wouldn't it?  Or is the person guilty "by a preponderance of the evidence", meaning that "beyond a reasonable doubt" does not apply?

            "Civil cases usually involve private disputes between persons or organizations. Criminal cases involve an action that is considered to be harmful to society as a whole."

            By that definition, overstaying a VISA is a crime and will be heard in a criminal court.
   … ences.html

            1. GA Anderson profile image89
              GA Andersonposted 6 years agoin reply to this

              Hey bud, your FindLaw link was an interesting read, but I don't think it confirms your opinion as much as you think.

              I found a link from "The Congressional Research Service (CRS)" that casts a bit of doubt:

              But wait... that is apparently not as definitive as it looks. There may still be room for your opinion. When you read the link, (which I am sure you will), you will find it includes multiple positions from various legislators, both pro and con, that cite a ton of other legal stuff to support their pro or con position..

              If I have to pick a side without enrolling in a scholarly study, I think the INA position seems most logical. Over-staying a visa is a civil infraction, not a criminal one - in most cases.

              Here it is:
              Should Overstaying a Visa Be Considered a Federal Crime (vs. a Civil Offense)?


              1. wilderness profile image95
                wildernessposted 6 years agoin reply to this

                Not sure I have an opinion (on what IS rather than what SHOULD be) - just that tiny bit of evidence that might or might not be useful.

                But I like your link; it does appear, and strongly so, that once here the illegal alien is committing only a civil infraction by staying.

      2. GA Anderson profile image89
        GA Andersonposted 6 years agoin reply to this

        Hello Don W.,

        My OP was prompted by Mr. Session's announcement, a thought formed from past news stories concerning sanctuary cities, and a perception that it only seemed logical that non-compliance with Federal laws/mandates was a hazard for receiving Federal grants monies.

        No Google research or legalese interpretation involved. So I looked at your questions from that same position.

        I wouldn't have thought there was a difference between an illegal immigrant and an undocumented immigrant - beyond semantics. But since you say there is no crime involved in being an undocumented immigrant, there must be. What it is?

        As for the ICE detainee requests, I also don't know if there is a compliance component - similar to our requirement, as citizens,  to comply with a law enforcement officer's requests - that gives those detainee requests the force of an order.

        Another thought is that if the authority of those requests is only that of a request, and as such means no Federal laws are actually broken, and the issue is really only one of cooperation, then wouldn't the acceptance and approval of grants applications by the Feds fall into the same arena?

        So, were those just questions to discuss, or do you definitive answers to both?


        1. Don W profile image81
          Don Wposted 6 years agoin reply to this

          As I understand it, entering the country illegally (improper entry) is a crime (a misdemeanor if it's a first offense). Entering the country legally (e.g. with a valid visa) then overstaying, is not a crime.

          I think I may have created the distinction between 'illegal immigrant' and 'undocumented immigrant' by associating them with illegal entry and overstaying respectively. Technically I guess any act that breaches the law is 'illegal' regardless of whether it's civil or criminal law.

          I should revise my question to: is a distinction made between immigrants who have committed improper entry, and those who are overstayers, in relation to requests from ICE to local law enforcement to detain people?

          If not, then in the case of overstayers, ICE is asking local law enforcement to detain people who have not committed a crime. Wouldn't that be unconstitutional? And wouldn't complying with such a request itself be illegal?

          While it's true some funding discretionary, Sessions said the government would withhold all funding that is not legally mandated. Two issues with that: 1) like you, I'm not sure that's legal. I seem to remember reading about a previous SCOTUS decision about this; 2) some of those grants are for counter-terrorism initiatives etc. Seems a bit off for the government to reduce the country's capacity to counter terrorism in order to get cities to comply with measures related to illegal immigration.

          So just questions and some confusion for good measure.

          EDIT: did a quick search for that SCOTUS reference. Didn't find it, but did find this fact check article where NY mayor claims Trump can't cut off funding across the board. "It has to be very specific to the matter at hand". Also includes a reference to the relevant SCOTUS decision.

          DeBlasio's claim was found to be "mostly true".

 … efund-san/

          1. GA Anderson profile image89
            GA Andersonposted 6 years agoin reply to this

            Don, I have looked around a bit and easily discovered that the Feds cannot force states and municipalities to enforce Federal laws. They can force them to abide by them - via different mechanisms, but they can't force them to be surrogate Federal enforcers. 

            For me, that settles the question of whether ICE requests were requests or orders, and whether non-cooperation is a violation of law. It appears that in the context of our discussion, sanctuary cities, (or states), are not breaking any laws.

            Your explanation of the illegal vs. undocumented question does more than just clear up the intent of your thought - it introduces an aspect I hadn't considered to be part of the current national ICE/Sanctuary cities debate. That would be the expired visa folks. I wonder if other folks considered them part of the conversation?

            I suspect that many folks viewed the question as I did, (previous to your note of them); the issue was about illegal entry illegal immigrants. Now you have posed another question to look into - Are the 'over-stayers' included in the current publicized ICE efforts? I am guessing that if they aren't in the system due to some serious crime - then they aren't part of this discussion. But that is just a guess.

            Still, staying away from the technical legalities for now, (I will come back to that as I develop a better understanding), I am not far from where I began.

            My understanding is that the controversial instances, (involving sanctuary cities' actions), that have been in the news are not ambiguous nuances. My impression is that these instances, (or at least the majority of the public ones), involves criminally charged illegal immigrants - in the court or legal system. And the the hubbub involves not only not cooperating, but, (as in one case where an illegal immigrant was directed to a different exit because ICE was waiting at the front exit), also active resistance.

            To me that is the same as saying, "To hell with you, but give me the money anyway." To which I hold my original opinion that it is completely rational for the Feds to say, "No."


  2. colorfulone profile image79
    colorfuloneposted 6 years ago

    8 U.S.C. Section 1373 - it was made legal last summer under the Imama Adm.  Its time to enforce the laws of the land in the USA.

  3. SherrieWeynand profile image80
    SherrieWeynandposted 6 years ago

    Living in a sanctuary city, (San Francisco), the only problem I have is de-funding programs unrelated to the issue. In a sense, it's nothing more than extortion. (If you don't do this, innocent school kids will lose federal grant money.) Take away law enforcement funding, or whatever the case may be, but to remove all funding from innocents isn't right. As citizens we don't have a choice in what happens, that's gov't at work.

    1. wilderness profile image95
      wildernessposted 6 years agoin reply to this

      Innocent children lost police protection - innocent children lose money for schools.  Is there really much difference?

      Don't forget - the only "innocent" ones are those in SF that do not promote liberal policies leading to sanctuary for law breakers, do not vote for those that do and DO try to prevent their city from accepting such policies.  Which includes children of course.

  4. SherrieWeynand profile image80
    SherrieWeynandposted 6 years ago

    We still have state funding for law enforcement. I will admit to being extremely liberal, and I agree that the ones here illegally, though still paying taxes (because many do), are not the ones they should be focusing on. Find the ones with dangerous records, ones who are wanted for crimes. That's what Trump said he was going after, but that's not what's happening. I believe that's where a lot of the anger and animosity come in. You have a man or woman working hard to super their family, then you have the gang member or wanted felon - they deport the hard-working family person. If they are here, no crimes, working, then help them become citizens without treading their families apart and wasting tax dollars on needless deportations. All the while allowing the criminals to roam free.

    1. SherrieWeynand profile image80
      SherrieWeynandposted 6 years agoin reply to this

      My phone hates me, my typing and grammar are not that bad. Super* = support, treading* = tearing.

    2. wilderness profile image95
      wildernessposted 6 years agoin reply to this

      How does an illegal pay federal income taxes, at least without stealing someone's identity?  Compounding, of course, their original crime?

      But that IS what Trump is going after.  But don't misunderstand - if an illegal is caught up in the same net, they WILL be deported.  To do otherwise - to decide that yes, this person is here illegally but we won't enforce the law - is what got us in this mess in the first place.  Personally, I don't like our law officers deciding which laws shall be enforced and which shall not - that is the job of the legislature, not the cop on the street.  And until that legislature decides that anyone that can sneak across the border without being caught can stay here the rest of their lives then they need deported when caught.  That there are higher priorities (violent criminals) to put resources into finding doesn't change that.

  5. profile image0
    ahorsebackposted 6 years ago

    As always . What good does it do to have laws , any laws , if the importance of enforcement , prosecution and resolutions are impeded  by political ideologies  ?    The general softening of criminal activity in America  has been a huge problem over the last years , especially dealing with immigration .    Of course the Feds  should cut monies , any monies from the states , cities or towns that ignore  federal laws .      This isn't simply about  illegal immigration - its about national security , it's about  original constitutional law and it's about the obligation of all entities involved .   
    - highway funds
    - gasoline taxes
    - education taxes
    -law enforcement

    There are lots of financial ways to make the sanctuary cities  adhere to federal and constitutional law.

    1. SherrieWeynand profile image80
      SherrieWeynandposted 6 years agoin reply to this

      It would be rough, but the state would find a way around it. We are the only state that pays more to the Feds than we receive. Governor Brown would raise taxes somewhere to cover the difference.

      I'm not saying I agree or disagree with sanctuary cities, all I'm saying is that those already here and trying to be balanced citizens, parts of their communities, find a way to help them become legal citizens, or even documented until they do become citizens instead of ripping families apart. Go after those who are criminals, who do have serious run ins with law enforcement. They've been going after the undocumented who have been following the rules, reporting to ICE as they have been instructed, etc. Now, with the deportations happening when they do show up to report as they have always done, that's going to make an entire new class of criminal. There are ways to go about it without leaving kids without parents, husbands and wives without their spouses.

      1. wilderness profile image95
        wildernessposted 6 years agoin reply to this

        Not quite true; federal monies coming into the state outweigh what is paid in federal taxes from California.  About $1.09 spent for every $1.00 received, as I recall.  Keep in mind that this is not grants or welfare, but total spending - military bases, products purchased, etc. are all included.

        But wait - are you seriously saying that illegals have for years walked into ICE offices, announced that they were in the country illegally, and then walked out?  While we all know it happens every day in state offices, I don't believe an ICE office would allow that to happen. 

        I think you're talking about the one woman not long ago that failed to renew her documentation and was picked up.  Indeed she had checked in for someone legally allowed to be here.  That's quite a difference from saying that she was illegal and still checking in!

        1. SherrieWeynand profile image80
          SherrieWeynandposted 6 years agoin reply to this

          First, I was referring to those here legally who did have to check in with ICE annually - who now out of fear won't go check in. It's been far more than one woman.

          Second, they can pay federal income tax using a TIN.

          Either way you look at it, the State of California will figure it out. Again, please do not confuse my arguments with support of sanctuary cities. Just looking at both sides of it.

          1. wilderness profile image95
            wildernessposted 6 years agoin reply to this

            Now why in the world would an illegal alien, a citizen of a foreign country in the US illegally, get a TIN?  To tell the government where they are working?  To give money they've earned illegally away while informing that they have worked without the right to do so? 

            And why would a perfectly legal aliens be afraid?  Because liberals are stirring the pot, insinuating they will be deported illegally?

            Oh, sure, California or any other state can work it out.  Most states get back just about what is paid from the state in federal taxes - cut most of the entitlement programs out and they would survive.  Nor would it be anywhere near that bad as much of the spending will remain even if the grants die.

            1. SherrieWeynand profile image80
              SherrieWeynandposted 6 years agoin reply to this

              Here is a link, and I can cite further sources if need be. Illegal and undocumented can and do file taxes. (Not all, that goes without saying.)

              https://www.americanimmigrationcouncil. … umber-itin

              1. wilderness profile image95
                wildernessposted 6 years agoin reply to this

                You are correct; illegals may get a TIN (your link said that several times).  But the key word is "may", not "do", which still leaves the question of just how many do that.  1%?  2%?  The link does give reasons; to get a drivers license from states that don't care if laws are broken and to provide proof of residency in case a general amnesty is applied sometime in the future.  Both good reasons, too, but it still does not seem worth the effort, and risk, for the vast majority of illegals.

                And that's born out by estimates that illegals cost the country over $10,000 per person.  They aren't paying their share even when a few DO pay taxes.

  6. psycheskinner profile image80
    psycheskinnerposted 6 years ago

    Given ICE's recent escapade storming a house here in Chicago and shooting a legal permanent resident (no illegals were at the address) I feel that staying a sanctuary city is the more sane and compassionate choice.  With friends like ICE.....

    1. profile image0
      ahorsebackposted 6 years agoin reply to this

      Would that be somehow different than say an illegal storming a house and killing an American citizen ?

      1. psycheskinner profile image80
        psycheskinnerposted 6 years agoin reply to this

        Yes. For many reasons including that ICE represents the people and is paid for by the people. Therefore what we think is directly connected to their mandate.

        1. profile image0
          ahorsebackposted 6 years agoin reply to this

          Is that like in .................I.C.E  .....obeying a constitutional directive ?   That's not the only problem with uncontrolled illegal immigration .

  7. crankalicious profile image88
    crankaliciousposted 6 years ago

    Liberals should stop trying to defend illegal immigration. It's stupid. If you're in the country illegally, you should be deported. Pretty simple.

    That said, there are different ways the federal government can go about this. One way is to spend ridiculous amounts of money on hunting people down one by one. Another way is to build a wall that won't serve much of a purpose except as a symbol. Another, easier way, is to go after the businesses that hire illegal immigrants. It's not that hard to figure out the businesses that do that.

  8. ptosis profile image69
    ptosisposted 6 years ago

    Equal protection under the law: just for citizens but all humans?

    From the ACLU

    Right after President Trump’s election, an undocumented woman living in El Paso, Texas left a shelter for domestic abuse victims and headed to the local courthouse to seek a protective order against the boyfriend who was abusing her.

    While there, she was detained by ICE agents who were likely tipped off by her abuser.

    Since then, the Trump Administration has escalated the number of raids in places that offer some measure of sanctuary for immigrant families, and sent immigration agents into courthouses to arrest victims like the woman in El Paso. And one federal judge in Austin, Texas said they were specifically targeted because of the sheriff’s policy towards ICE.

    This kind of intimidation effort underscores why our Freedom Cities work is so important. If we can bring activists together with local law enforcement officials and demonstrate the depth of support out there for our shared values, we can save families from being broken apart. But that will take all of us doing our part.

    Right now we’re making a big push for local law enforcement to adopt crucial policies that will protect immigrants from Trump’s regime.

    1. wilderness profile image95
      wildernessposted 6 years agoin reply to this

      Not sure what you're trying to say here - that our courthouses should be a haven for criminals that disobey the law?  That as long as they are inside a building dedicated to upholding the law they are safe from NOT obeying the law?  That the justice dept should not operate within the confines of a courthouse? 

      And to then go on about activists "getting together" with the law in order to convince enforcement officials to turn a blind eye to violations?  To ignore lawbreakers because a handful of loud voices don't like specific laws?  Personally I don't see that as part of enforcement personnel's job, whether a cop on the beat or a judge - do you?

      I understand that some misguided people are pushing for law enforcement to ignore laws they don't like, but just can't see that being particularly useful in a nation of laws.  Unless anarchy is the goal, maybe, and there ARE no laws?


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