News & Politics

Washington's War on 'Sanctuary States' Intensifies

Washington's War on 'Sanctuary States' Intensifies
A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officer looks on during an operation in Escondido, Calif. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)

The federal government’s pushback against the sanctuary movement moved to Connecticut yesterday when Immigration and Customs Enforcement issued subpoenas demanding information on three illegal alien criminals whom ICE had placed detainers on, only to see them released by authorities.

Daily Caller:

ICE subpoenaed the State of Connecticut Court Support Services Division for information on three foreign nationals — of all them convicted criminals living in the U.S. illegally — who were arrested, but subsequently released because of state laws that prohibit cooperation with the agency.

At first a novel action, subpoenas are becoming a more common action by ICE as it escalates its fight with “sanctuary” jurisdictions.

Proponents in the sanctuary movement will claim that most of the criminal illegal aliens were convicted of “minor” crimes like drunk driving. Ask a mother/father/sister/brother who lost a loved one to a drunk driving accident whether it’s a “minor” crime.

“It’s unfortunate that elected officials in Connecticut seem unable to grasp the public safety threat posed by the criminal illegal aliens these officials are attempting to shield,” Todd Lyons, the acting field office director of ICE’s Boston office, said in a statement released Thursday.

“These are the same criminals who’ve already been arrested for crimes by state and/or local law enforcement, often perpetrated against the very immigrant communities these officials claim to be protecting. Despite these short-sighted, reckless ‘sanctuary-for-criminal-aliens’ policies, ICE will continue to use all available legal tools to safeguard the public.”

One of the Connecticut illegals was convicted of manslaughter. Another of second-degree robbery. It’s a strange place to live, indeed, if individuals convicted of these crimes aren’t a public safety threat.

Connecticut won’t say if they will obey the law and honor the subpoenas. Instead, they point to their sanctuary law, which says an ICE detainer won’t be honored without a “judicial warrant.” Only one small problem with that.

A “judicial warrant” not only isn’t necessary, it doesn’t exist.

Leaders of “sanctuary” localities and states have increasingly demanded a judicial warrant for detainers, but ICE and immigration experts have repeatedly said it is not needed and that judicial warrants, in fact, don’t “exist” in the case for detainers.

ICE issues administrative warrants for detainers, and the agency argues that the Immigration and Nationality Act gives them the authority to execute these administrative warrants.

After years of sanctuary cities suing the federal government, Washington is finally starting to push back. The states want to make this a constitutional issue, but it really isn’t. This is an administrative issue. The Constitution is pretty darn clear about who makes immigration policy. And while the courts have ruled that states should not be forced to cooperate in enforcing federal immigration law, the courts have so far been silent about whether states should be forced to honor legal administrative writs to deal with a specific category of immigrant: illegal alien criminals.

Washington isn’t asking states to detain 11 million illegals, just those convicted of a crime. If those here illegally feel threatened by this, no one is going to apologize for that.