Should locals enforce federal laws?

Did you know that Washoe County and Clark County are listed as sanctuary counties on several unofficial national lists? In 2014, Mike Haley—then Washoe county sheriff—issued a press release saying his department would not turn over prisoners to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) based on a “request.” It does turn over prisoners in cases where ICE presents a warrant or “other documentation.”

In 2015, the sheriff’s office played down the ”sanctuary county” designation and said there even is an ICE officer in the sheriff’s Parr Boulevard complex.

President Donald Trump on Jan. 29 lit a bonfire between the opposing sides of the immigration and refugee debate with an executive order halting the refugee program and stopping visa and even green card holders in mid-trip at major airports. Trump constantly called for this moratorium in his campaign, until “we can find out what the hell is going on.” Trump’s actions are likely constitutional but frankly are skewed against a reasonable cost benefit analysis

Refugees and illegal aliens are the least likely to engage in terrorism. The most likely are those who are present on tourist or student visas, which was how 18 of the 19 September 11 terrorists were present. Even if you remove the Saudi group, holders of ordinary visas are still the greatest, although minuscule, threat.

America was protected from waves of refugees such as Europe experienced because we are always protected first and foremost by our uniquely secure geographical setting—two enormous oceans. It is only because we chose to play empire instead of republic that we have been involved in foreign crisis after crisis, real and imagined, for decades.

Empire is a losing deal for working Americans, robbing us of needed resources here and sending our youth as cannon fodder for virtually no gain overseas.

Trump’s other executive order cuts off funding to the real sanctuary cities that might defy him, like New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and other bastions of Blue Big City Mayoralty. These are the last blue lines because the Republicans have decimated the Dems in Congress, the White House, state governorships and legislatures. Big Bill de Blasio wants to be President in four years but, in the meantime, has to watch his back for a 2018 Clinton attack.

When the opponents of Trump’s sanctuary city order sue, they will likely use a precedent set by an Arizona constitutional conservative sheriff, Richard Mack, who refused to perform Brady background checks because they were an unfunded mandate. He won at the Supreme Court and set the precedent that the federal government cannot force states to enforce unfunded federal laws.

Mack’s case could help protect the sanctuary cities from Trump’s wrath.

Republicans are all for federalism except when they are not, and there is no real conservative inclination to restore federalism in immigration policy. Rather they seek political domination because they now have the power. They loved Prop 187, former California Governor Pete Wilson’s attempt to deny benefits to illegals. They love another former Arizona sheriff, Joe Arpaio, because his policies were more than the federal courts would allow (although now he faces contempt charges).

However, most Republicans turn partisan when states and cities want a less restrictive policy than Washington mandates.

It seems that Republican views on immigration federalism are a lot like Henry Ford’s policy on the Model T—you can have any immigration policy you want, so long as it’s red.