Wednesday, March 07, 2018

The Feds are suing California over their sanctuary laws

And about time. There has not been a lot that this administration has given me cause to cheer over, but they do seem to be serious about getting a handle on illegal immigration. And of course the open border advocates have all suddenly discovered states rights. Except they really haven't.

Here's the deal. California is part of a union governed by a contract between members. Members have broad discretion in most things, but there are areas where everybody agreed to cede authority to the central government in order to ensure mutual protection and avoid chaos. One of those areas is immigration. If a state (hello California) wants to set a statewide maximum speed limit of 30 mph, tax every gallon of gas and every cup of soda at $5 a pop and outlaw smoking statewide, well that's their business. I think they would be nuts. But again it's their call. But passing laws clearly aimed at obstructing Federal laws, is not.

California is in breach of its obligations to the other 49 states. Worse they are deliberating acting in a way that might endanger not only their own people and property, but the people and property of the other states as well as the economic well being of the union as a whole. And this needs to stop.


lannes said...

Separating local law and Federal law must have been dreamed up by devious lawyers. The idea of States, as opposed to individuals, breaking Federal laws is simply ludicrous.

Unknown said...


It sounded ridiculous to the founders, too. Then they put the articals of confederation into practice. ThT didn,tlast long. We wnt with Federalism instead. Part and parcell of this is the Federal government gets to control certain things and gets to protect the rights of individuals against the states. Has the Federal Government assumed too much power over the states? Yeah, definitely. Is immigration one of those areas? Since we have open borders between the states and freedom of movement, immigration is clearly under the federal purview.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

The dichotomy only works if the two powers have distinct areas of jurisdiction. Immigration was never delegated to the federal government, which means it's reserved to the States. But Congress gets to decide citizenship, the Executive runs foreign policy, and the States have open borders with each other. So by the 1850s, the Supreme Court ruled that immigration was solely a federal matter even though it is Constitutionally ultra vires.

There are too few Congressional districts, in explicit violation of the US Constitution. States are also prohibited from adopting anything but gold or silver as money.

The States had to amend the Constitution to give the Feds jurisdiction over alcoholic beverages. But when the States amended it back, somehow the Feds were able to legislate drug use.

Bottom line, the Constitution is incoherent and unworkable in some key areas, and in any event its interpretation is always downstream from power.

123 said...

Unlike the AZ Supreme Court case where the Obama AG sued to force a state not to take the law into its own hands on a matter of federal jurisdiction, Sessions is suing to force a state to effectively commandeer state resources to execute federal policy. That federal government is free - as it has always been - to enforce federal immigration policy in sanctuary states, cities, etc.

Given the Trump Administration's track record in federal court, I expect this suit will also be dismissed or ruled against.

John (Ad Orientem) said...

@123 That's not accurate. These laws forbid state law enforcement from cooperating with Federal Officials. And one goes so far as to forbid private businesses from voluntarily cooperating with the Feds. I think these laws are quite vulnerable. Of course they do have to deal with the crazy 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. But after that comes the more grounded Supreme Court. So yes, I'm cautiously optimistic here.

123 said...

Co-opting local resources - even willing individual or local resources - is still the federal government using local resources,paid for by others, to its own job. If there wasn't also an issue of its detrimental effects on local policing, public health, etc. it wouldn't be an issue. Immigrant - including illegal immigrant - communities are demonstrably less crime prone than other communities. They don't want to get deported so they go out of their way to not be noticed by authorities. Voluntary collaboration with the Feds directly undercuts local jurisdiction over policing, public health, education, etc. and has a negative effect on outcomes.

Anecdotally, yes, one can point to illegal aliens who have been deported numerous times who commit violent crimes that could have been avoided if they were not in the U.S. But, that's anecdotal, tabloid evidence used as red meat for purposes other than "safety" and "law and order". I also have anecdotal evidence from a police detective in a major U.S. city whose beat is a heavily illegal community - and the only one's who cause problems are the poor, American-born people who live there. But the proof - as opposed to one's feeling and intuition about what's "really going on" - doesn't support the contention.

Illegal immigration is as much about safety and crime prevention as the high-minded Constitutional ideals like state's rights were what motivated the Dixiecrats and the Confederacy. This is simply this generation of former immigrants' fight over new immigrants changing the cultural fabric of America. It's cultural amnesia for the sake of bigotry wrapped in language that can allow people to feel they are bigoted.

John (Ad Orientem) said...

Absolute rubbish. Attempting to forbid citizens of the United States from voluntarily aiding their country in the enforcement of its laws is at the very least a breathtaking abuse of power. At worst it comes perilously close to sedition.

lannes said...

Your new name: Right-on John.

rabidgandhi said...

US deportations, 2009: 387,000

US deportations, 2016: 240,000

US deportations, 2017: 225,000

As usual, both sides are trying to depict themselves as the exact opposite of what the data show they really are.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

This is simply this generation of former immigrants' fight over new immigrants changing the cultural fabric of America. It's cultural amnesia for the sake of bigotry wrapped in language that can allow people to feel they are bigoted.

Are you on medical marijuana?

123 said...

I know the smell coming off those torches in Charlottesville played havoc with everyone's noses, but no, I am not on medical MJ.

I should not a typo in that last sentence, too: "wrapped in language that can allow people to feel they are NOT bigoted."

This is also not an issue of whether a private citizen can or cannot "voluntarily [aid] their country in the enforcement of its laws", it's a matter of jurisdiction in our federal system of government. Citizens can't pick and choose when they aid the federal government or their state or local governments when they are at odds and have competing jurisdictional claims. The "abuse of power" can be seen either as an overreach of the federal government or the overreach of state government. Overreach is in the eye of the beholder here. I'm sure the Supreme Court will end up weighing in as an corollary to its ruling in AZ on a clearly related but distinct topic. Again, I don't see there being an issue as long as state and local governments don't stand in the way of the feds using their own resources to do their job. Ensuring local entities (whether public or private) aren't improperly "deputized" by the feds to do work at the state and local levels at odds with competing state and local interests and jurisdiction is simply a species of the kind of turf wars seen throughout a federal system of government.

John (Ad Orientem) said...

In this country people are not "resources" and haven't been since at least 1865. Private citizens are free entities and telling them that they may not aid their country in the enforcement of its laws is an act of tyranny by a state that is effectively in revolt against the national government. There is no "conflict of jurisdiction." Immigration falls under the authority of the Federal Government. This is settled law to the point it is not seriously debatable.

I think AG is right, you are smoking something.

123 said...

I don't disagree that any laws relating to private citizens are the most questionable, but they are a small part of the attack on sanctuary laws in CA and around the country. The larger question is about whether the federal government can co-opt state and local resources and demand cooperation undermining state and local jurisdiction and interests to do its job. Its job is, correctly, immigration policy and enforcement. That is not the responsibility of state and local government, and they are working very hard to stay out of it so they can remain effective in the areas they are responsible for, e.g., local policing, public health, education, etc.

And I never said people were resources. I said the federal government (not individual people) needed to use "their own resources to do their job" when it comes to immigration enforcement, so not sure how 1865 is relevant at all.

Of course, the real reason there is an illegal immigrant problem is the demand for cheap labor from "job creators" supporting the Republican Party. Go after businesses, don't go after the desperate immigrants doing nothing less than our own ancestors did - before a previous generation of bigots enacted laws strictly cutting back on "undesirables" like, then, Slaves, southern Europeans, Catholics, Jews, Arabs, Asians, etc. and creating a class of "illegals" from what was their list of "s-thole countries"). Being an illegal alien is about as illegal as speeding, but we don't impound people's cars and ruin their lives for "breaking the law".

The Anti-Gnostic said...

Of course, the real reason there is an illegal immigrant problem is the demand for cheap labor from "job creators" supporting the Republican Party.

This is an incomplete view of the problem. They are also "cheap consumers." We have a huge swath of the economy that makes money off eyeball counts on the Internet, and it doesn't matter if the eyeballs belong to a net tax payer or net tax consumer. We can also aggregate their low-tier transactions for car-title loans, rent, etc. They also reliably provide a justification for the welfare-warfare state. The fact that their children will be citizens who grow up and vote Democrat at rates of 60 - 70% is another nice bonus.

If the citizens own the borders then immigrants are either guests or trespassers and should be deported when they violate the terms. Fining businesses that hire them should be a part of this.

If you don't believe in government borders, then abolish them and allow people to draw their own.