Feds List Sanctuary Cities, But Consequences Are Still Vague

This week’s first official “detainer” report by Immigration and Customs Enforcement included a list of 118 self-declared immigrant sanctuary cities. President Trump has threatened to strip federal funding from the localities, but the consequences for those on the list are a mystery.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s first list of so-called immigrant sanctuary cities produced a lot of names — and not much clarity, reports the Boston Globe. The list, released this week as part of ICE’s first weekly “detainer” report, named 118 localities as self-declared sanctuaries but included no information about the Trump administration’s plans to respond. So what is the purpose of the list? One ICE official said it will be up to Trump and Congress to decide what the next steps will be. Trump has repeatedly threatened to strip federal funding from sanctuary cities. He issued an executive order on Jan. 25 directing the Department of Homeland Security to begin that process.

“We’re just complying with the executive order,” said the ICE official. The list of cities was drawn up based on public announcements and news reports and is not fully comprehensive. It will be up to DHS to officially define and identify sanctuary cities for the purposes of Trump’s order, the official added. Phil Torrey, an immigration lawyer, says the report has another purpose. “Trump is trying to shame localities into using their resources to help ICE arrest and deport individuals,” he said. He says the list is being used as a propaganda tool “to unfairly and inaccurately paint all immigrants as criminals.”

from https://thecrimereport.org

Noncitizens, Immigrants and Crime

Observations With 65,000 non-citizens incarcerated (it was 103,000 in 2012) and 178,000 undocumented immigrants deported last year who were convicted criminals, crime and illegal immigration are connected. The Department of Homeland Security has estimated that 1.9 million noncitizens have been convicted of criminal offenses and could be deported. The unanswered question is the degree of […]

Observations With 65,000 non-citizens incarcerated (it was 103,000 in 2012) and 178,000 undocumented immigrants deported last year who were convicted criminals, crime and illegal immigration are connected. The Department of Homeland Security has estimated that 1.9 million noncitizens have been convicted of criminal offenses and could be deported. The unanswered question is the degree of […]

from http://www.crimeinamerica.net

U.S. Lists Places Ignoring Immigrant Detainer Requests

Department of Homeland Security lists the cases of 206 unnamed individuals who ICE says committed “notable criminal activity” and still were released from local jails. Some cities, counties say that cooperating with the federal government can reduce the trust in local police.

The Department of Homeland Security made good on a Trump administration promise to publicly shame cities and counties that don’t cooperate with federal immigration authorities, reports NPR. Immigration and Customs Enforcement released its first weekly list of local jails and jurisdictions that haven’t honored immigrant detainer requests. Such requests from immigration officials go to cities and counties asking that local law enforcement hold an inmate who is in the country illegally and has been arrested or charged with a crime. The intent is to have such prisoners detained for up to 48 hours so that federal officials can decide whether to pick them up and deport them.

Such cities and counties, commonly described as “sanctuary jurisdictions,” may not cooperate with the detainer requests for a variety of reasons. Some say that cooperating can undermine local trust in the police if immigrants are afraid that reporting a crime will result in their own deportation. Other jurisdictions cite court rulings that have cast doubt on the constitutionality of the detainers. The list published yesterday covers the period Jan. 28 to Feb. 3. It comes during the week after President Trump’s executive order on domestic enforcement of the nation’s immigration laws. The list covers the cases of 206 unnamed individuals who ICE says committed “notable criminal activity” and the jails from which they were released. The crimes listed include drug possession, DUI, domestic violence and aggravated assault. The vast majority of the offenders are from Mexico and Central America. The jurisdictions listed include Los Angeles, Colorado, New York and Travis County, Texas. While 206 of these detainers were ignored, that represents less than 10 percent of the 3,083 detainer requests issued nationwide.

 

from http://thecrimereport.org

TX Rep Still Threatens To Cut Funds From Sanctuary Cities

Rep. John Culberson (R-TX), chairman of the House panel that controls Justice Department spending, said states and cities will be denied millions of dollars in law enforcement grants unless they complied with federal law on sanctuary cities. It hasn’t happened yet.

Last July, a year after the shooting death of Kate Steinle in California intensified the national debate over illegal immigration, Rep. John Culberson (R-TX), chairman of the House panel that controls Justice Department spending, said that jurisdictions like San Francisco would be denied millions of dollars in law enforcement grants unless they complied with federal law on sanctuary cities. Officials in California, Connecticut and other jurisdictions in Culberson’s cross-hairs say nothing has changed, reports the Houston Chronicle. Though Culberson claims to be “judge and jury” in the matter, government briefs filed in lawsuits challenging President Trump’s threatened funding cuts for sanctuary cities also show that officials have yet to take action – and likely face lengthy litigation if they do.

The 10 cities and states targeted by Culberson – including New York City, Chicago and the state of Connecticut – continued to get law enforcement grants worth a total of $96  million in late 2016, even though Culberson says the Justice Department had “certified” them as sanctuary city violators last July.  “Nobody’s had any grants withheld,” said Mike Lawlor, Connecticut undersecretary for criminal justice policy and planning. Culberson insists they’re wrong and that starting this year, they’re “in for a very unpleasant surprise.” Culberson told the Chronicle, “I’ve already had them certified as violators,” claiming a “quasi-judicial role as chairman of a subcommittee … using the power of the purse to enforce the law.”

 

from http://thecrimereport.org

Internal Data Undercut Arguments for Trump Travel Ban

One report, “Most Foreign-Born US-Based Violent Extremists Radicalized After Entering Homeland,” analyzed 90 cases involving suspected or confirmed foreign-born terrorists, finding that most of them probably embraced extremist ideology after they arrived in the U.S., not before.

At least two sets of internal data that have been available to the Trump administration but that have never been publicized appear to undercut the government’s argument for a travel ban that it had hoped would take effect yesterday, the Washington Post reports. One report, “Most Foreign-Born US-Based Violent Extremists Radicalized After Entering Homeland,” analyzed 90 cases involving suspected or confirmed foreign-born terrorists, finding that most of them probably embraced extremist ideology after they arrived in the U.S., not before. Another report, drawn on classified FBI data, has been used by the Trump administration to bolster its claims that refugees pose a risk of terrorism. The figures that are the basis for that report undermine a key premise of the travel ban, with most of the suspects cited in the report coming from countries unaffected by President Trump’s executive order.

Taken together, the two reports show there is a significant amount of internal government data that suggests the travel ban Trump wants to implement is not likely to be effective in curbing the threat of terrorism in the U.S. White House spokesman Michael Short said the justification for the travel ban is “not in any way diminished by these selective and potentially criminal leaks being carried out by disgruntled government officials. The president is 100 percent committed to keeping this country safe from terrorism, and that’s exactly what this order will help achieve.’’ The new travel ban did not take effect yesterday, after a federal judge in Hawaii issued a freeze of the executive order hours before it would have temporarily suspended the admission of new refugees and barred the issuance of new visas to citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

from http://thecrimereport.org

Trump Would End Aid to Jail Undocumented Immigrants

Proposed presidential budget cut disappoints officials in places like Miami-Dade County, which became the first jurisdiction to shed its “sanctuary city” status by complying with Trump’s immigration authorities.

President Trump proposed a massive $4.8 billion increase in spending yesterday to combat illegal immigration, but his plan includes a cut that stuns some local law enforcement officials: Department of Justice grants that help pay for jailing undocumented immigrants, reports USA Today. Throughout his campaign, Trump said he would help local communities enforce immigration laws and vowed to punish those that didn’t (“sanctuary cities”) by withholding federal funds. Yet his budget would eliminate the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program, which would deny aid to localities that help enforce his ramped-up deportation program. The move would save the federal government $210 million this year.

That proposal came as a shock to officials in Miami-Dade County, which became the first jurisdiction to shed its “sanctuary city” status by complying with Trump’s immigration authorities. Mayor Carlos Gimenez ordered his jail to honor all requests by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents to detain undocumented immigrants, a controversial move that led to sweeping protests in a county where a majority of residents are foreign-born. “We are concerned,” said Michael Hernandez, a spokesman for the mayor. “We’ve been a good partner with federal immigration authorities. We expect them to be good partners with us.” The grants reimburse local jails for detaining for at least four days undocumented immigrants who committed one felony or two misdemeanors. Since 2000, the program has provided aid to hundreds of local jails. White House press secretary Sean Spicer said the budget proposes other ways to help local officials. “We increased the amount of money for detention facilities for folks who come into the country illegally,” he said, referring to a $1.5 billion increase in spending to expand federal detention facilities, transportation and deportation of undocumented immigrants. Local officials said none of that new money will help pay for all the undocumented immigrants who end up in their jails.

 

 

from http://thecrimereport.org

CA Chief Justice to ICE: Stop ‘Stalking’ at Courthouses

“Courthouses should not be used as bait in the necessary enforcement of our country’s immigration laws,” California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye told Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly.

California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye told federal immigration officials to stop “stalking undocumented immigrants” at California courthouses, the Sacramento Bee reports. Cantil-Sakauye said she was “deeply concerned” that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents are seeking out undocumented immigrants for deportation at courthouses and courtrooms from San Francisco to Los Angeles. “Courthouses should not be used as bait in the necessary enforcement of our country’s immigration laws,” she told U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly. “Enforcement policies that include stalking courthouses and arresting undocumented immigrants, the vast majority of whom pose no risk to public safety, are neither safe nor fair … I respectfully request that you refrain from this sort of enforcement in California’s courthouses.”

The statement comes as Cantil-Sakauye is organizing a court “working group” to provide information and legal resources to immigrants. She initiated it on Feb. 1 in response to media reports and direct reports from judges and lawyers that undocumented people are increasingly being targeted by immigration officials.

from http://thecrimereport.org

Hawaii Federal Judge Blocks New Trump Travel Ban

Judge Derrick Watson cites “strong likelihood” that Trump’s order intentionally targets Muslims and therefore violates the Constitution’s guarantee against establishment of religion. The President may take the issue to the Supreme Court.

A federal judge in Hawaii issued a worldwide restraining order against enforcement of key parts of President Trump’s revised travel ban executive order just before the directive was set to kick in, Politico reports. U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson ruled that the state of Hawaii and a local Muslim leader had “a strong likelihood of success on their claim” that Trump’s order intentionally targets Muslims and therefore violates the Constitution’s guarantee against establishment of religion. Watson rejected the federal government’s claims that the new directive does not target Islam because it is focused on six countries that account for less than 9 percent of the world’s Muslims.

“The illogic of the Government’s contentions is palpable,” wrote Watson, an appointee of Barack Obama. “The notion that one can demonstrate animus toward any group of people only by targeting all of them at once is fundamentally flawed. The Court declines to relegate its Establishment Clause analysis to a purely mathematical exercise.” The ruling is another serious blow to Trump’s attempt to limit immigration as part of what he claims is an effort to reduce the threat of terrorist attacks in the U.S. Trump slammed the decision during a speech to a campaign rally in Nashville a short time after the new restraining order was issued. “This is, in the opinion of many, an unprecedented judicial overreach….This ruling makes us look weak,” the president declared, appearing to vow to appeal to the Supreme Court. Trump “should just continue talking, because he’s making our arguments for us,” said Marielena Hincapié of the National Immigration Law Center.

from http://thecrimereport.org

Higher Immigration May Have Aided Crime Drop, Study Says

Immigrants commit crimes at lower rates than do native-born citizens, reports The Sentencing Project. “Improving public safety is a complicated question that cannot be addressed by scapegoating foreign-born residents,” says the organization.

Immigrants, regardless of their legal status, commit crimes at lower rates than do native-born citizens, reports The Sentencing Project in a summary of research on the subject. The advocacy group says that higher levels of immigration in recent decades “may have contributed to the historic drop in crime rates,” and that police chiefs believe that intensifying immigration enforcement undermines public safety. The group notes that immigrants are under-represented in U.S. prisons.

“Improving public safety is a complicated question that cannot be addressed by scapegoating foreign-born residents,” says Nazgol Ghandnoosh, co-author of the report with Josh Rovner. “Instead, we should be investing in effective community-based initiatives that address the underlying contributors to crime.” Since 1990, violent crime rates have dropped by half, while the number of immigrants doubled, and the number of undocumented immigrants tripled, the report says. It cites a University of Buffalo study that examined crime in 200 metro areas with varying immigrant population sizes. Researchers found that cities with larger immigrant communities saw much greater declines in homicides than did cities with smaller immigrant populations.

from http://thecrimereport.org

New Trump Travel Ban Faces Array of Legal Tests Today

Federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland will hold hearings on whether to prohibit immediate implementation of the revised order, which temporarily bars new visas for travelers from six Muslim-majority countries. A third challenge is pending in Seattle.

President Trump’s revised executive order on immigration and refugees faces a potentially dramatic array of legal tests today, the day before it is scheduled to go into effect, the Wall Street Journal reports. Federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland will hold hearings on whether to prohibit immediate implementation of the revised order, which temporarily bars new visas for travelers from six Muslim-majority countries: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. The revised order temporarily suspends the admission of refugees. The administration says these measures are needed to protect the U.S. from terrorist threats. Critics, including Democratic-led states and civil-liberties groups, say the travel restrictions are an illegitimate attempt by the president to fulfill a campaign promise to ban Muslims from the U.S.

In addition to the two scheduled hearings, a judge in Seattle who played a big role in derailing the first White House travel ban is deciding how to proceed in round two of the case there, which centers on litigation brought by the state of Washington. Democratic attorneys general from five other states have joined that challenge.  The states are asking Judge James Robart to apply his preliminary injunction against the first executive order to the revised policy as well. It isn’t clear if the judge will call a court hearing, issue a ruling without one, or do nothing for now. If no judge blocks the revised executive order, it will take effect at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday.

from http://thecrimereport.org