President Donald Trump’s executive order to strip federal funds from “sanctuary cities” is getting push back from the cities themselves, with the locales resorting to either denial or legal action to fight Trump.
“Sanctuary” jurisdictions are those which refuse to follow immigration detainers from Immigration and Customs Enforcement. ICE detainers are a request to be notified by local or state law enforcement when an illegal alien is being released from the agency, or for the agency to detain the criminal alien for longer so ICE can take them into custody.
Detainers are the primary way ICE detains illegal immigrants, and hundreds of jurisdictions around the country ignore them. The Center for Immigration Studies, which advocates for reduced immigration, used ICE data to identify around 300 jurisdictions across the nation that do not cooperate with ICE either by ignoring detainers, denying ICE access to interview jailed aliens, or through other means.
In the wake of President Trump’s executive order, however, many of these cities identified as not cooperating with ICE have denied that they are sanctuary cities. Palm Beach County, Fla., budgeted over $80 million dollars in federal grants for the current fiscal year which they stand to lose.
Internal ICE documents obtained by The Texas Tribune show that between January 2014 and September 2015 Palm Beach County declined 28 detainers. The documents also show that ICE determined that the county has a policy of not cooperating with ICE detainers.
However, Palm Beach County attorney Denise Nieman told The Sun-Sentinel, “We are not a sanctuary county.” Palm Beach is not alone in denying that they don’t cooperate with ICE.
Hennepin County, Minn., home to Minneapolis, receives over $200 million in federal funds annually and in 2014 announced that it would no longer honor ICE detainers. A spokesman for the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, however, denied that the city is a sanctuary city in an email to The Daily Caller.
“We fully cooperate with all state and federal agencies,” the spokesman said. He added that the change in 2014 was that the Sheriff’s Office stopped honoring detainers without judicial orders or warrants.
Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies for the Center for Immigration Studies, told TheDC that Hennepin County is in “denial.”
“On the one hand they say they ‘fully cooperate,’ but a few sentences later they say they will not honor ICE detainers without a judicial order,” Vaughan said. She went on say that there is “no requirement in the law for ICE to provide a judicial order or warrant, and there is no judge or court that will issue one.”
Vaughan added that Hennepin County saying they will cooperate with ICE when they supply a judicial warrant is the “equivalent of saying that they will cooperate with ICE when pigs fly.”
President Trump’s executive order calls for the secretary of homeland security to produce weekly a “declined detainer outcome report.” This could potentially expose jurisdictions which claim to comply with ICE detainers.
Other jurisdictions are owning their “sanctuary” status, and planning a legal battle with the White House. San Francisco announced Tuesday a federal lawsuit against President Trump, calling his executive order both “unconstitutional” and “un-American.” (RELATED: Illegal Alien With 7 Felonies And 5 Deportations Fatally Shot San Francisco Woman In Broad Daylight)
The Supreme Court has ruled that the federal government can’t “coerce” states using federal funds, but The Wall Street Journal reports there is flexibility regarding this ruling and some law experts believe Trump’s order is legal.
While San Francisco is the only jurisdiction so far to have sued the federal government, others are threatening to take action. Miami-Dade County’s mayor Carlos Gimenez recently announced that his county’s jails will reverse their sanctuary policy as he doesn’t want to lose hundreds of millions of federal funds. However, a county commissioner sent Gimenez a letter Monday urging him to join other jurisdictions and sue the federal government on the grounds that the executive order is not constitutional.
New York City has an estimated $7 billion federal funds at stake, but Mayor Bill de Blasio is vowing to remain a sanctuary city. De Blasio has said that the city has “solid ground for a legal challenge to the executive order should the occasion arise.” (RELATED: De Blasio: Drunk Driving, Grand Larceny Aren’t ‘Reasons To Tear Apart A Family’)