Dara Lind · Wednesday, May 24, 2017, 1:22 pm
Trump couldn’t defund sanctuary cities on his own. So he’s asking Congress to help.
Tucked into President Trump’s 2018 budget request, in the form of language rewriting a 1996 law governing local cooperation with federal immigration enforcement, is a new front in the Trump administration’s war on “sanctuary cities” — jurisdictions that don’t help federal immigration agents scoop up unauthorized immigrants (and that happen, generally, to be under Democratic control).
The Trump administration is asking Congress to make it illegal for any law enforcement officer not to comply “with any lawful request” from federal immigration agents — including requests to hold immigrants after they’d normally be released from jail, so that federal agents can pick them up.
If the budget passed, it would put hundreds of cities that limit local help with federal agents — that say that, for example, local jails won’t hold immigrants booked on traffic offenses for Immigration and Customs Enforcement to pick up and deport — on the wrong side of the law.