Sanctuary Cities Immune From Federal Law
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Days after suingArizonafor “intruding” on the government’s authority by passing a state version of its immigration laws, the Obama Administration has revealed that it will also ignore violations of the federal statute.
A Justice Department official confirmed in a news report this week that the agency will not take any action against cities that defy a 14-year-old federal law by offering illegal immigrants sanctuary. The measure (Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigration Responsibility Act of 1996) specifically requires states and municipalities to cooperate with federal authorities when it comes to immigration enforcement.
For decades, dozens of local governments have provided illegal aliens with sanctuary by shielding them from the feds after arrests or criminal convictions and banning police from inquiring about suspects’ immigration status. Judicial Watch has sued several major police departments—includingLos Angeles andChicago—for their illegal don’t-ask-don’t tell immigration policies, which have enabled violent criminals to continue victimizing innocent Americans.
Numerous illegal immigrants with extensive criminal records have committed atrocious crimes because they were never deported, despite repeated encounters with local law enforcement agencies in sanctuary cities. Recent examples include a violent gang member who murdered a high school football star inLos Angeles, another gangbanger who gunned down a teenage honor student on aMarylandbus and a drunken driver who killed two women and a toddler inColorado.
The victims would all be alive had local authorities cooperated with the 1996 federal law passed by Congress to control the nation’s borders and remove criminal aliens. The Obama Administration has a different interpretation; sanctuary cities that refuse to cooperate with the federal government are not as bad as a state—like Arizona—that “actively interferes.” Modeled after the federal statute, theArizona measure makes it a state crime to be in the U.S. without proper documentation, bans sanctuary cities and allows local police to inquire about immigration status.
The Texas congressman who authored the ’96 federal immigration law says that not taking action against those who “passively violate” the measure is absurd, comparing it to ignoring individuals who fail to pay taxes or ignoring banking laws that require disclosure of transactions over $10,000.