ICE raids are ramping up with a particular focus on sanctuary jurisdictions. The objective is to detain and eventually deport more convicted immigrants from those areas where they would otherwise feel safer.
In order to be more effective in this attempt, ICE started releasing a list of those jurisdictions that don’t cooperate. Surprisingly the worst offender appears to be Travis County in Texas. This has put even more fire on the existing fight between the Texas Governor and the Travis County Sheriff. The final result is more pressure on Texas state legislature to approve a statewide sanctuary ban.
On the remaining sanctuary jurisdictions, the Trump Administration maintains its objective of cutting federal funds.
The Stealth Sanctuary Approach and the Florida Sentence
Some areas have adopted a less visible approach. They try to protect illegal immigrants with training, documentation and legal support. At the same time, they don’t declare themselves sanctuary to avoid financial consequences.
In Florida, an attempt has been made to declare the detention of immigrants by the state unconstitutional. The sentence produced by a Miami-Dade judge claims that the Federal government has no power to compel state authorities to house Federal prisoners.
The sentence ruled against the county but produced no real effect. The county has appealed it based on lack of jurisdiction by the local judge to decide upon immigration matters. Florida was previously a sanctuary state but abandoned such a status after the Donald Trump got in office.
California Doubles Down on Its Sanctuary Position
On the other hand, California is spearheading the sanctuary state push. The first action has been a letter to Jonh Kelly and Jeff Sessions to stop “stalking” undocumented immigrants outside of California courthouses. ICE agents have adopted the practice of capturing convicted aliens directly outside or inside court facilities, after being getting no results with other methods.
The state even asked for details on the arrests being performed. The Golden state is home to nearly 3 million illegal immigrants among a total non-citizen population of 5.4 million. Trump recently broadened the categories of people to target for immigration enforcement. It can be anyone charged with a crime, thus removing an Obama-era exception for people convicted of traffic misdemeanors.
Los Angeles Goes All the Way
More specifically, the city of Los Angeles has taken a more direct stance restricting city employees from cooperating with federal immigration officials. Los Angeles has been protecting illegal immigrants since 1979 by prohibiting officers from asking about the immigration status of criminals. They ramped those efforts up in 2014 when the LAPD stopped honoring ICE requests to detain illegals after they’ve been arrested for nonviolent crimes.
The Trump Administration will continue to ramp up ICE activities, with the enrollment of 1,000 new agents in the short term. Yet it doesn’t seem to target California as a sanctuary state as yet. More likely the first Federal versus state confrontation is going to be in Maryland, where they can count on a Republican governor opposed by a Democratic legislature. In the meantime, Texas might become the first anti-sanctuary state.