Editor's Note: Column co-written by John Schlafly
The sanctuary city movement, which gained momentum and arrogance during the eight years of the Obama administration, has finally met its match. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Monday that cities, counties and states will soon lose billions of dollars of federal assistance if they refuse to assist federal officials charged with enforcing our immigration laws.
The new policy was no surprise, because Donald Trump often spoke out against sanctuary cities throughout his 18-month campaign for president. By announcing the new policy at the White House, using the same podium used for daily press briefings, Sessions confirmed that the president supports his determination to end the lawlessness of local officials.
“Sanctuary cities” are Democrat-controlled places, which harbor dangerous illegal aliens and fail to detain them for deportation by the federal government. At least 118 jurisdictions in the United States consider themselves to be sanctuary cities for illegal aliens, and many of these cities fail to cooperate with the federal government when a violent illegal alien is apprehended.
“Such policies cannot continue,” Sessions, announced on Monday to the public. “They make our nation less safe by putting dangerous criminals back on our streets.”
Sessions declared that there will be a new policy of lawfulness concerning sanctuary cities, and that state and local jurisdictions must certify that they are complying with immigration laws in order to continue receiving funding from the federal government. Cities that fail to comply could receive an invoice from the federal government demanding a refund of grants they previously received.
The former Alabama Senator was Phyllis Schlafly’s favorite member of the U.S. Senate, and he was the first senator to endorse President Trump. Trump recognized early how truly valuable Sessions is, and made him the first major nomination for the new Trump administration.
As head of the Department of Justice, Sessions has the authority and means to enforce our immigration laws, which have been ignored for so long. The Justice Department doles out billions of dollars of grants to assist local law enforcement, and that money should not be given to local governments that defy federal law.
Most sanctuary cities would go bankrupt without the federal subsidies they receive. There is no constitutional right for cities to continue to take handouts from federal taxpayers while also defying federal law.
Despite the clear legality of Attorney General Sessions’ statement, the mayors of New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco all issued statements reaffirming their sanctuary policies. “President Trump’s latest threat changes nothing,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio declared, vowing that he “won’t back down” from protecting his illegal residents “from an overzealous administration fixated on xenophobia and needless division.”
In 2016, approximately 279 counties and cities were uncooperative with the federal government in detaining illegal aliens to allow deportation of them, as confirmed by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). President Trump has ordered the release of this information, and on the list for lack of cooperation in early 2017 are jails in Boulder County, Colorado, Sioux County, Iowa, Hennepin County, Minnesota, and Chester County, Pennsylvania.
Many of the non-compliant jails are located in Texas, to the dismay of its Republican Governor Greg Abbott. “I applaud today’s bold action by Attorney General Sessions that aims to end sanctuary city policies that endanger American lives,” Governor Abbott declared.
But mayors are preparing lawsuits, with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union, against the U.S. Attorney General. The ACLU recently conducted a nationwide campaign of “Resistance Training” with the goal of turning cities into “safe havens” for illegal aliens and refugees.
The federal courts are packed with activist judges appointed by Democratic presidents, and one of them could order the federal government to continue funding sanctuary cities. This could lead to a showdown that ends the overreach in power by the federal judiciary, as the Trump Administration could simply stop signing checks payable to the defiant cities.
While liberal mayors defend sanctuary policies, Americans are overwhelmingly opposed. In a survey of 2,148 registered voters by the Harvard-Harris Poll, 80 percent of Americans agreed with the statement: “Cities that arrest illegal immigrants for crimes should be required to turn them over to immigration authorities.”
The Rasmussen survey phrased the question somewhat differently by asking 1,000 likely voters if they wanted their own city to become a sanctuary city. It’s no surprise that a majority said no, and 52 percent also said that sanctuary cities should have their federal funds cut off.
The Harvard-Harris survey also found that most Americans still support a temporary ban on visitors from seven “Muslim majority countries” even after Trump’s executive order was blocked by an activist federal judge. Most of those polled said the federal judge’s ruling made the nation less safe and the number of refugees we accept should be reduced.