I suppose that the concept of “Sanctuary Cities” must be confusing to some people that don’t live in the United States.
How could a city in the United States simply refuse to enforce Federal immigration law?
The answer to that is our government isn’t set up as a top down, strong central goverment authority.
We have a confusing tangle of laws that are Federal, State and Local laws with checks and balances in place to ensure that all stake holders rights are protected and the constitutionality of the law confirmed if challenged.
The Federal Government has sued Arizona to stop Arizona from enforcing Federal immigration law. I believe it’s disingeuous to not allow local and state authorities to enforce the law, then require they follow procedures the state and local governments otherwise find unconstitutional.
Thus, we have San Francisco passing an ordinance that requires that the Federal government, IE ICE, follow due process when seeking transfer of a prisoner in San Francisco’s custody into Federal immigration custody.
Essentially San Francisco requires a court order before they will hold a prisoner to Federal immigration authories.
This is actually in my opinion the constitutional way to proceed. I assure you that you would hate it if you completed your sentence, then some other jurisdiction, be it ICE or otherwise simply asked that you be held longer even when you have completed your sentence.
Although ICE says that these “holds” are short term, we all know that they can turn into indefinite holds when court proceedings lag, or issues arise as to where to actually deport someone. Many Cuban refugees are in that state now, indefinitely held, without sentence or a place to send them to.
This to me is an entirely horrible situation that could have been avoided had ICE simply followed due process, sought an order, and taken custody of the illegal immigrant.
In the absence of such an order, I believe indefinite holds to be unconstitutional, whether the person is a citizen, or not.
I also believe that if people want laws enforced that sufficient resources should be put towards enforcing that law. ICE requesting local jurisidictions to hold immigrants is simply a cost shifting method to save on legal and court costs, and shifts some burden to the locals to pay to jail the people.
It’s a messed up situation all around, but I believe conservative lawmakers who won’t pay for laws they want enforced have some responsibility here.