The Trump administration just toughened its crackdown on ‘sanctuary cities’

jeff sessions

Attorney General Jeff Sessions toughened his crackdown on so-called “sanctuary cities” on Tuesday, announcing that certain grant programs for cities and states would be conditional on whether local officials allow immigration agents access to local jails.

Starting in the fiscal year 2017, jurisdictions must allow immigration officers into detention facilities and provide 48-hours’ notice before releasing an inmate who is wanted by immigration agents in order to be eligible for Byrne Justice Assistance Grants.

“So-called ‘sanctuary’ policies make all of us less safe because they intentionally undermine our laws and protect illegal aliens who have committed crimes,” Sessions said in a statement.

“These policies also encourage illegal immigration and even human trafficking by perpetuating the lie that in certain cities, illegal aliens can live outside the law.”

Sessions cited an incident that happened in San Antonio, Texas, on Sunday, in which 10 undocumented immigrants died after being transported in a sweltering tractor-trailer across Texas in an alleged human-smuggling case. Some Republicans have attributed the deaths to cities with “sanctuary” policies they say “entice” immigrants into crossing the border illegally.

Sessions’ announcement on Tuesday marks a significant escalation in the Trump administration’s approach to “sanctuary” jurisdictions, which implement a variety of policies that limit their police departments and jails’ cooperation with federal immigration authorities. For instance, many cities opt not to honor federal requests to detain immigrants in jails unless the requests are accompanied by judge-signed warrants.

Previously, Sessions had only required that localities abide by the federal statute 8 USC 1373, which only requires that local officials not interfere with the exchange of information regarding people’s citizenship or immigration status. But many “sanctuary cities” had argued that they already complied with that statute.

Sessions’ critics have argued that his crusade against “sanctuary” policies will push undocumented communities further into the shadows, discouraging immigrants from reporting crimes committed against them out of fear they will be deported.

The move also comes as Sessions faces increasing public criticism from President Donald Trump over his recusal from the Russia investigation. Trump has now said multiple times he would not have nominated Sessions as attorney general had he known Sessions would recuse himself, prompting speculation over whether Sessions would resign.

Sessions, however, has said he will remain in the position “as long as that is appropriate.”

SEE ALSO: The botched Texas smuggling operation that killed 10 has become a flashpoint for the immigration debate

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Non-Sequiturs: 07.25.17

* Is Paul Manafort planning on responding to his Congressional subpoena with receipts? [The Root]

* A much needed W for the First Amendment. [Patterico’s Pontifications]

* Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Supreme Court strategy. [Politico]

* This case will make you think about burping more than you care to. [Lowering the Bar]

* Trump can’t stop talking about Sessions. [Huffington Post]

* Your job is killing your posture. Can anything be done to stop you from developing a computer hunch? [Corporette]

* What is Jared Kushner hiding? [Slate]

* Learning the value of being a troublemaker. [Ghostwriting-Speechwriting]

* Maybe I’m biased (I definitely am), but Girl Scouts > Boy Scouts. [Jezebel]
Non-Sequiturs: 07.25.17 syndicated from

The botched Texas smuggling operation that killed 10 has become a flashpoint for the immigration debate

immigration protest texas san antonio

Immigration advocates and skeptics alike have seized on the deaths of 10 people who were found in a sweltering tractor-trailer on Sunday in an alleged human smuggling case gone wrong, arguing that the tragedy demonstrates the need for large-scale immigration reform.

The deaths received national media attention after authorities revealed that more than 100 people were driven about 150 miles through Texas while crammed into the trailer without air conditioning or water, while temperatures outside surpassed 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

The truck’s driver, 60-year-old James Bradley, told federal authorities he had been unaware the tractor-trailer was filled with people.

Bradley said after he parked at a San Antonio Walmart and opened the trailer doors, he was knocked down by a group of “Spanish” people fleeing the vehicle, and saw “bodies just lying on the floor like meat.” Bradley has been charged with knowingly transporting people who are in the country illegally, and if convicted could face the death penalty.

Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, a Republican, took to Fox News on Tuesday to pin the tragedy on Democrats and proponents of so-called “sanctuary city” policies.

“Our policies from the last Administration — and quite frankly the Democrat policies of today — of an open border and sanctuary cities allow and enables these drug smugglers who don’t care about human life to put people in this horrific situation,” Patrick said.

He added that it was “past time” congressional Democrats and Republicans passed immigration reform legislation that falls in line with Trump’s goals of securing the border and cracking down on sanctuary cities, which he said “entice” people to attempt to immigrate illegally and turn to human smugglers.

“These people paid a terrible price and demonstrate why we need a secure border and legal immigration reform so we can control who enters our country,” Patrick said in a statement on Facebook.

james bradley texas san antonio smuggling

Earlier this year, Texas passed a law banning jurisdictions that refuse to honor federal requests to detain immigrants. The law allows local officials to be charged with misdemeanors if they knowingly fail to comply with the detainer requests, and ensures localities can’t ban police officers from questioning people on their immigration statuses if they are arrested or detained.

The law, known as Senate Bill 4, is slated to take effect Sept. 1, but has been challenged in court by rights organizations and localities that say the law infringes on local governments’ constitutional rights, and will sow fear through immigrant communities by dissuading people from reporting crimes or testifying as witnesses out of fear they will be deported.

But Democratic critics of Senate Bill 4 have spoken out as well in the wake of the smuggling deaths, arguing that the fatalities and injuries were caused not by sanctuary policies, but by a the current broken immigration system.

“If we had some sort of better policy for immigration purposes, folks like that who are coming over here to work wouldn’t feel compelled to smuggle themselves in a trailer,” Texas Rep. Poncho Nevarez, a Democrat, told Houston Public Media.

Another Democratic lawmaker, Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, accused Patrick of “politicizing” the deaths.

“Ten individuals lost their lives this weekend and that deserves our attention, not that the lieutenant governor of Texas successfully passed Senate Bill 4,” Rodriguez told The Austin American-Statesman.

“This moment calls for compassionate people from across the political spectrum to have a difficult and honest conversation about comprehensive immigration reform.”

Immigration experts have also chimed in, arguing that more aggressive immigration enforcement, not to mention the construction of a border wall, will not dissuade people from entering the US illegally — it instead perpetuates a black market in which risky smuggling operations are placed in high demand.

The immigrants are primarily attracted American jobs in the agriculture, hospitality, and construction industries, Jeronimo Cortina, a professor and research associate at the University of Houston’s Center for Public Policy, told The Houston Chronicle.

“Deaths like those in this case are going to be happening again and again, or even more if we don’t tackle the root of the problem,” Cortina said. “It’s a market rule, and it’s not going to change just because you put up more walls.”

SEE ALSO: How human smugglers use trucks — like the one parked outside a Texas Walmart — with sometimes deadly results

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