Many Americans continue to look on in disbelief as States, cities and even judges(!) thumb their nose at Federal immigration law, actively aiding and abetting illegal immigrants in eluding Federal agents. President Andrew Jackson wasn’t about to put up with nullification when South Carolina used the theory to declare it wouldn’t collect tariffs. And it appears the current administration is running out of patience with modern nullificationists:
Attorney General William Barr said Monday that the Justice Department will review the policies of sanctuary cities to determine if they’re a breaking federal law that prohibits the “harboring or shielding of aliens in the United States.”
“When we are talking about sanctuary cities, we’re talking about policies that are designed to allow criminal aliens to escape,” Barr said.
“These policies are not about people who came to our country illegally, but have otherwise been peaceful and productive members of society. The express purpose of these policies is to shelter aliens whom local law enforcement have already arrested for crimes,” he added.
At least one Senator is looking to put some teeth into the administration’s pushback:
Senator Marsha Blackburn (R., Tenn.) announced on a conference call Wednesday that she was proposing a bill to block grant funding from the Department of Justice for local law enforcement in states with sanctuary policies that allow illegal immigrants to receive drivers’ licenses…
A similar measure was proposed by Justice Department under then-attorney general Jeff Sessions in 2017 to combat sanctuary policies, but federal judges in Pennsylvania, California, Illinois, and New York all subsequently ruled against the Trump administration.
It amazes me that federal judges would hamstring the federal government’s constitutional duties to regulate immigration. As a country, we have made it far too easy to be an illegal alien. In addition to States granting drivers licenses (based on what documentation?), we publish our official documents and election materials in multiple languages, at a not insignificant cost. And while there’s occasionally a publicized raid on a company knowingly employing illegal immigrants, the penalties are usually less than the profit margin the companies make by hiring them, often at less than minimum wage (since they can’t file a complaint). How about yanking the business license of such organizations?
People talk about “bringing illegals out of the shadows,” and “reducing the stigma of illegal entry.” No! Human beings respond to incentives and disincentives. Right now the incentive to come to this country illegally is huge. For all the administration says it has stopped “catch and release,” the reality is that millions of border violators have been turned loose with no way to hold them accountable for their court date as long as they stay out of sight. And there are too many officials in State and city governments eager to help them do just that.
Are we a sovereign nation of laws, or one big doormat upon which anyone may tread at will?