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  1. #1
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    May 2006

    Will Major Cities Simply Ignore Any New Immigration Rulings?

    Will Major Cities Simply Ignore Any New Immigration Rulings? Sean Higgins
    Tue Jun 5, 7:00 PM ET

    As Congress wrangles over immigration, the debate is moot in major cities across the country.

    The reason: "Sanctuary" cities from Los Angeles to New York will never check a person's immigration status regardless of what Washington passes.

    Consider Houston. Its police department's Web site is crystal clear -- in Spanish and English.

    "HPD officers are not authorized to arrest or detain a person solely on a belief that the person is in the country illegally," says the online Q&A.

    People who are arrested for other crimes may be asked about their status, but they will only be reported to federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement authorities if they are a previously deported felon or have an outstanding federal warrant.

    It also states: "Immigrants who are victims of crime or have information regarding a criminal activity should contact the police. They should not fear that HPD will call federal immigration agents on them."

    Sanctuary From Reform?

    Houston is just one of the better- known sanctuary cities for immigrants in the U.S. These local governments prohibit their officers from enforcing immigration laws. Critics contend they will undermine the enforcement provisions of any immigration reform passed by Congress.

    "To the extent there is any improvement in law enforcement in this bill ... that improvement is negated in sanctuary cities," said Kris Kobach, a former top Justice Department attorney who specialized in immigration enforcement.

    Federal officers can still go into sanctuary cities, Kobach said. But without information from local police, finding illegal immigrants becomes vastly harder.

    Most information about illegals comes from local cops making ordinary arrests and then checking the suspect's immigration status if they suspect he or she might be illegal. Sanctuary cities prevent this from happening.

    Some in Congress are seeking to end the practice. Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., proposed an amendment to the immigration bill late last month that would have prevented local governments from prohibiting their law enforcement from contacting ICE.

    "Nothing in this amendment ... requires teachers, hospital workers, anyone, to do anything," Coleman said during a Senate debate. "What it simply does is lift a gag order."

    Amendment Falls, More Likely

    Coleman's amendment was defeated by a single vote, 49-48, on May 24. Similar efforts are expected when the bill comes up in the House, Republican aides said.

    Defenders of sanctuary cities say it is a matter of civil rights. The policies prevent racial profiling, said Eric Gutierrez, staff attorney with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund.

    "We concur that we need strong enforcement measures," Gutierrez said. "But those enforcement measures need to be smart and not overstep the rights of citizens in the U.S."

    Houston Police Department spokesman Gabriel Ortiz referred IBD to a statement by the Major Cities Chiefs Association in response to questions about sanctuary city policies.

    A 2007 MCC report cited several rationales for the policies, including not wanting to upset relations with immigrant communities, lack of resources for enforcement, confusion over what immigration laws require, and fear of civil liability.

    The most commonly cited reason though is that not asking about status supposedly encourages illegal immigrants to cooperate with police and report crimes.

    "Those who are entrusted to protect us understand that the relationship of trust built with the immigrant would be ruined overnight if this provision becomes law," said Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., during the debate over Coleman's amendment.

    Coleman countered that sanctuary city laws tie the hands of officers by making it impossible to deport violent offenders.

    Kobach said the policies make interior enforcement extremely difficult.

    "There's no question these policies are well-known by immigrants," he said. "The cities become magnets for immigrants who have been previously deported or have criminal records."

    Number Of Cities Unknown

    Nobody appears to have kept track of exactly how many sanctuary cities there are in the U.S. But everyone agrees the number is not trivial.

    The Justice Department's inspector general reported in January that it surveyed 99 local governments (state, county and municipal) and found that 30 reported they didn't ask arrestees their immigration status.

    The survey also found that 17 local governments said that they do not inform ICE when they have an arrestee that they believe is an illegal. Eighteen said they do not inform ICE when they are releasing an illegal from custody.

    The better-known sanctuary cities include Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, Chicago, Denver and San Francisco.

    L.A. is widely believed to have started the trend in 1979 with its "Special Order 40." A conservative legal group, Judicial Watch, is suing the city over the policy.

    San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsome said last month he would not allow "anyone associated with the city to cooperate in any way" with immigration raids by federal authorities.

    "We are a sanctuary city, make no mistake about it," Newsome said.

    Many other cities don't have official policies to this effect but are believed to quietly discourage their officers from acting on suspected immigration violations.

    The DOJ inspector general report also studied a sample of 100 criminal alien arrests and found that 73 had subsequent arrests.

    A 2005 study by the federal General Accountability Office of 55,322 incarcerated illegal aliens found that they had been arrested an average of eight times each and about half had been convicted of previous felonies. ... 765general
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  2. #2
    Senior Member redpony353's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    cut off all federal funding to sanctuary cities. they will change their tune.
    Join our efforts to Secure America's Borders and End Illegal Immigration by Joining ALIPAC's E-Mail Alerts network (CLICK HERE)

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