Statement of Mary Meg McCarthy, executive director, National Immigrant Justice Center
The ruling from the federal court in San Francisco that the Trump administration’s threats to eliminate federal funds for local governments that refuse to participate in federal immigration enforcement is the latest legal blow to an executive branch agenda that is unconstitutional and un-American. The White House’s subsequent attack on the judiciary branch in light of the ruling is an alarming breech of respect by the president for rule of law.
As the federal court found, it is clear the Constitution does not allow the federal government to compel localities to convert their local police departments into federal immigration enforcement agencies. Beyond the serious constitutional questions, the executive order in question is, at best, misguided. Our communities are safest when all community members trust that police officers are there to protect them – not turn them over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for deportation. Towns and cities across America function best when crime victims feel safe calling the police, when witnesses are willing to share testimony, and when perpetrators know the people they harm will not hesitate to call 911. The executive order targeting “sanctuary cities” further erodes trust between police and the people they have sworn to protect. The federal government’s attempt to force police to do its bidding was rightfully struck down by the court.