Sanctuary states: “How dare you ask us to hold illegal alien child sex offenders caught in our jails! Immigration is a federal issue; don’t waste local law enforcement resources with it.”
ICE: “OK, we will have to do it ourselves and get the illegal alien child sex offenders at the courthouses right before they are released on bond, because that is the last opportunity to ensure they are not needlessly sent back into the communities to re-offend when they can be removed from the country.”
Sanctuary states: “We prohibit the feds from doing enforcement at all, and they will be blocked from our courthouses to ensure the sex offenders are released.”
That is essentially the dialogue that has taken place between ICE and the state of Oregon over the past few months. So much for the excuses of sanctuaries not wanting to get local law enforcement involved in immigration. Now we know it was really all about blocking the feds from doing their job, thereby ensuring that the most dangerous aliens, including sex offenders, are released. Oregon Supreme Court Chief Justice Martha Walters issued an order attempting to bar ICE from apprehending illegal aliens at courthouses.
By definition, when ICE grabs illegal alien criminals at courthouses, there is no involvement of state officials. ICE is no longer asking state officials to get involved in immigration at all or even hold the alien for them. Yet Oregon’s liberal state officials want to prohibit the feds from doing one of the core federal jobs.
What will ultimately happen is that more recidivist criminals of foreign countries are going to remain in the communities where local law enforcement police on daily basis. So what began as an argument to preserve resources of local law enforcement will now end with local law enforcement needlessly having to deal with other countries’ criminals constantly reoffending along with American ones.
In July, ICE was forced to arrest Fabian Alberto Zamora-Rodriguez, an illegal alien charged with multiple child sex offenses, at a courthouse in Astoria, Oregon, because local police would not cooperate. The courthouse was the last line of defense between ensuring that other countries’ sex offenders are removed and having a dangerous child predator released back into the community.
More recently, in Washington state, which is just as bad on immigration as Oregon, an illegal alien who had at least 10 prior arrests in the Seattle area was picked up on murder charges. Julio Cruz-Velazquez, a citizen of Mexico who is in the United States illegally and is now charged with murdering a father of five as he lay asleep in his own home, had a rap sheet that included recent arrests for rape, domestic abuse, assault, burglary, drunk driving, and robbery. Each time, he was let back on the streets. The courthouses are the only place to nab these people before they post bail, especially in this era of criminal justice “reform.”
“Local law enforcement failed the public in this case on multiple occasions,” said Nathalie Asher, Seattle field office director for ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO). “Prior to Julio Cruz-Velazquez’s most recent arrest for murder, ICE lodged detainers on him twice. Had those detainers been honored, or had ICE been notified on any of the other multiple occasions he was arrested and released from local jails, we would have taken him into custody. Regrettably, politics continues to prevail over public safety. The detainers were ignored and Cruz-Velazquez was released to the street.”
Now, this judge in Oregon wants to ensure that no foreign rapist or murderer is kept off the streets.
Fortunately, in this situation, the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution renders Judge Walters’ order just a public tantrum. A law enforcement operation to enforce a valid federal law can be executed anywhere. States can thumb their noses at federal immigration enforcement the same way I can. In other words, they can’t. It is quite literally for this very case that James Madison explained in Federalist #42 that the federal power over naturalization solved “a very serious embarrassment” and “defect” of the Articles of Confederation whereby “certain descriptions of aliens, who had rendered themselves obnoxious” can force themselves on several states had they “acquired the character of citizens under the laws of another State.”
We all agree to strong state powers over education, housing, and local governance, but states have no right to harbor those who trespassed upon the whole of the union before entering that state.
If the DHS and DOJ choose to run away from this fight and allow this neo-confederate version of secession to take root, they will have nobody to blame but themselves. States are wrongly crushed by the feds on almost every local policy. Are we to believe that suddenly, when it comes to the most federal policy imaginable, states are all-powerful and can thwart federal agents?
The Trump administration should coordinate ICE operations with the U.S. Marshals under the Department of Justice and have them arrest any state official violating federal law and interfering with the execution of those laws, as they would when any private citizen who does the same.
For its part, ICE made it clear it would go on offense. “Despite attempts to prevent ICE officers from doing their jobs, ICE will continue to carry out its mission to uphold public safety and enforce immigration law, and consider carefully whether to refer those who obstruct our lawful enforcement efforts for criminal prosecution,” said ICE in a statement on Thursday.
When Kim Davis, a county clerk in Kentucky, merely wanted to uphold both state and federal law by maintaining marriage as between one man and one woman, ratified by 75 percent of state voters, she was thrown in jail. We were told that the federal judiciary is such a juggernaut, it can trump federal law in addition to state laws, even though Anthony Kennedy himself wrote in the Windsor case just two years before, “The states, at the time of the adoption of the Constitution, possessed full power over the subject of marriage and divorce.”
Are we suddenly going to believe that a state judge can now thumb her nose at the most foundational sovereignty laws that all agree are exclusively controlled by the federal government?
If imprisonment was deemed the proper response to Kim Davis upholding what rightfully belongs to the states, it sure as heck is the proper remedy for Oregon Justice Martha Walters violating what rightfully belongs to the feds.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.