The Trump administration is finally going after sanctuary cities

One of the most galling things that the left has done is to block Immigration and Customs Enforcement by creating so-called sanctuaries to protect known criminal illegal aliens from arrest.  The phrase "sanctuary city" (or sometimes "sanctuary state") is something of a misnomer because while these places are sanctuaries for criminals who are being released back into the community, they're anything but sanctuaries for the communities ravaged by those same aliens.

Early on, the Trump administration tried to withhold federal funds from California as a way to block it from declaring itself a sanctuary.  The problem was that California rushed into federal court, where a friendly activist judge immediately issued a nationwide injunction.  It wasn't until July 2019 that the Ninth Circuit reversed that decision, and then only on narrow grounds.

Suddenly, after three years, the Trump administration is moving aggressively against the sanctuary city/state problem.  It began last week, when the administration announced that it was prohibiting New York state residents from participating in programs such as Global Entry and NEXUS, which allow low-risk travelers to enter the U.S. more easily.

This was a response to New York's new law allowing it to issue driver's licenses to illegal aliens.  More significantly, the law prohibits the DMV from sharing data with the federal government.  That last was a bridge too far.  Without the DMV information, the federal government says it can no longer determine whether people holding New York licenses are, in fact, low-risk travelers.

The reality is that illegal aliens are not low-risk.  When David Brooks called out President Trump for telling "bogus" stories about illegal aliens during the State of the Union speech, Heather Swift, a DHS spokesperson called him out with actual facts instead of mere opinions:

The administration's challenge to New York is only the beginning.  On Monday, in a speech to the National Sheriffs' Association, Attorney General Bill Barr announced that the administration will act aggressively to take to end cities' and states' flouting of federal law:

"Let us state the reality upfront and as clearly as possible," Barr began. "When we are talking about sanctuary cities, we are talking about policies that are designed to allow criminal aliens to escape. These policies are not about people who came to our country illegally but have otherwise been peaceful and productive members of society.  Their express purpose is to shelter aliens whom local law enforcement has already arrested for other crimes.  This is neither lawful nor sensible."

Also on Monday, the DOJ began filing federal suits seeking injunctive orders barring cities and states from engaging in the sanctuary charade.  The first cases were filed in New Jersey and Washington State.

So what changed?  The probable answer lies with something Trump said the day after his acquittal, when he held a public celebration at the White House.  During the event, Trump called out and honored all the people who stood by him.  When it came to Mitch McConnell, in addition to praising McConnell's steady hand during the Senate impeachment hearings, as well as McConnell's intelligence, Trump had something else to say:

And he's also given us 191 now.  (Applause.)  A hundred and ninety-one federal judges.  Two Supreme Court judges, right?  It's up to 191.  (Applause.)  True.

And just last week, one of those two Supreme Court justices, Neil Gorsuch, issued a concurring opinion in which he warned district court judges that, in the future, the Supreme Court will almost certainly crack down on their habit of imposing nationwide injunctions.

What this means is that, for the first time in his presidency, Trump has the wind at his back in the federal courts.  The Trump administration can finally do the forum-shopping that the left has perfected over the years.  Instead of looking for judges who ignore the law in favor of activist outcomes, though, Trump's administration will be able to argue its cases before judges who look for guidance to the Constitution, the law as written, and precedence.

This is the time, therefore, to start pressing against lawless regional administrations.  It's likely that judges constrained by law will rule against the so-called sanctuaries, in which case leftist governments will have two choices: stop acting as sanctuaries, which is the ultimate goal, or ignore the rulings, in which case Trump has strong footing to move harshly against them, whether through severe economic sanctions or other creative acts.

One of the most galling things that the left has done is to block Immigration and Customs Enforcement by creating so-called sanctuaries to protect known criminal illegal aliens from arrest.  The phrase "sanctuary city" (or sometimes "sanctuary state") is something of a misnomer because while these places are sanctuaries for criminals who are being released back into the community, they're anything but sanctuaries for the communities ravaged by those same aliens.

Early on, the Trump administration tried to withhold federal funds from California as a way to block it from declaring itself a sanctuary.  The problem was that California rushed into federal court, where a friendly activist judge immediately issued a nationwide injunction.  It wasn't until July 2019 that the Ninth Circuit reversed that decision, and then only on narrow grounds.

Suddenly, after three years, the Trump administration is moving aggressively against the sanctuary city/state problem.  It began last week, when the administration announced that it was prohibiting New York state residents from participating in programs such as Global Entry and NEXUS, which allow low-risk travelers to enter the U.S. more easily.

This was a response to New York's new law allowing it to issue driver's licenses to illegal aliens.  More significantly, the law prohibits the DMV from sharing data with the federal government.  That last was a bridge too far.  Without the DMV information, the federal government says it can no longer determine whether people holding New York licenses are, in fact, low-risk travelers.

The reality is that illegal aliens are not low-risk.  When David Brooks called out President Trump for telling "bogus" stories about illegal aliens during the State of the Union speech, Heather Swift, a DHS spokesperson called him out with actual facts instead of mere opinions:

The administration's challenge to New York is only the beginning.  On Monday, in a speech to the National Sheriffs' Association, Attorney General Bill Barr announced that the administration will act aggressively to take to end cities' and states' flouting of federal law:

"Let us state the reality upfront and as clearly as possible," Barr began. "When we are talking about sanctuary cities, we are talking about policies that are designed to allow criminal aliens to escape. These policies are not about people who came to our country illegally but have otherwise been peaceful and productive members of society.  Their express purpose is to shelter aliens whom local law enforcement has already arrested for other crimes.  This is neither lawful nor sensible."

Also on Monday, the DOJ began filing federal suits seeking injunctive orders barring cities and states from engaging in the sanctuary charade.  The first cases were filed in New Jersey and Washington State.

So what changed?  The probable answer lies with something Trump said the day after his acquittal, when he held a public celebration at the White House.  During the event, Trump called out and honored all the people who stood by him.  When it came to Mitch McConnell, in addition to praising McConnell's steady hand during the Senate impeachment hearings, as well as McConnell's intelligence, Trump had something else to say:

And he's also given us 191 now.  (Applause.)  A hundred and ninety-one federal judges.  Two Supreme Court judges, right?  It's up to 191.  (Applause.)  True.

And just last week, one of those two Supreme Court justices, Neil Gorsuch, issued a concurring opinion in which he warned district court judges that, in the future, the Supreme Court will almost certainly crack down on their habit of imposing nationwide injunctions.

What this means is that, for the first time in his presidency, Trump has the wind at his back in the federal courts.  The Trump administration can finally do the forum-shopping that the left has perfected over the years.  Instead of looking for judges who ignore the law in favor of activist outcomes, though, Trump's administration will be able to argue its cases before judges who look for guidance to the Constitution, the law as written, and precedence.

This is the time, therefore, to start pressing against lawless regional administrations.  It's likely that judges constrained by law will rule against the so-called sanctuaries, in which case leftist governments will have two choices: stop acting as sanctuaries, which is the ultimate goal, or ignore the rulings, in which case Trump has strong footing to move harshly against them, whether through severe economic sanctions or other creative acts.