TEXAS JUDGE PUSHES U.S. TOWARD 'SANCTUARY NATION,' WARNS SCHOLAR, 'Unless the courts are reined in, they will create a de facto policy', by Paul Bremmer, 6/17/17, WND
Are sanctuary cities becoming the law of the land in America? At least one analyst thinks so after a federal judge in Texas ruled that the Bexar County sheriff violated the constitutional rights of a Mexican citizen by holding him in jail on an immigration detainer after his criminal charges were dismissed.
The Bexar County Jail regularly honors ICE (Immigrations and Customs Enforcement) detainers, which are requests that local jails hold detainees who are set to be released for an extra 48 hours if the detainees are suspected of being in the country illegally. The 48-hour period gives ICE agents time to get to the jail and apprehend any criminal aliens before they are released back onto the streets.
However, Judge Orlando Garcia of San Antonio ruled the sheriff’s office does not have probable cause to hold onto aliens who are not suspected of any crime – other than the crime of illegal entry. He ruled the sheriff violated the plaintiff’s Fourth Amendment right to protection against unreasonable search and seizure.
Daniel Horowitz, senior editor at Conservative Review, reacted in horror to what he saw as another example of “judicial amnesty.” “Once again, the courts have conflated criminal law with immigration law,” Horowitz wrote. “Nobody has the ‘right’ to break into our country, unilaterally assert jurisdiction, and then be allowed to disappear into the population without detention just because there is no probable cause of another crime.
“The courts are now essentially granting judicial amnesty to anyone not accused of another crime outside of illegal entry. This decision will likely impact many other sheriff’s departments that want to comply with ICE detainer requests.”
Horowitz, author of “Stolen Sovereignty: How to Stop Unelected Judges From Transforming America,” said sanctuary cities are old news at this point. “There might be 375 jurisdictions that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities, but unless the courts are reined in, they will create a de facto sanctuary nation policy by preventing even cooperative states and localities from following the law,” he declared.
Dan Cadman, a fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies, was more circumspect in his analysis of Garcia’s ruling, but he admitted the decision will hinder ICE’s ability to secure cooperation from local jursidictions. “It’s going to really thoroughly complicate things, and it probably makes life right now pretty miserable for county sheriffs and police officers in the state of Texas as well, given the anti-sanctuary statute,” Cadman told WND. “Everybody is going to be scratching their heads trying to figure out what the limits of cooperation are so they can all go forward.”
He was referring to SB 4, Texas’ new anti-sanctuary city law that Gov. Greg Abbott signed in May. The statute, which is not scheduled to take effect until Sept. 1, creates penalties for jurisdictions that fail to honor ICE detainer requests and prevent their law enforcement officers from inquiring about immigration status.
Several jurisdictions have filed lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the statute, and Garcia is scheduled to hear the cases later this month.
Cadman said Texas should absolutely be allowed to compel county jails to honor ICE detainers. “If anybody has the ability to dictate the terms and circumstances under which police officers and sheriffs operate, it’s the state, which issues the statutes that give them the basis of being law enforcement officers in the first place,” he said. “And Texas, it’s worth noting of course, like other border states, has a serious problem. And Texas is aware of it, and Texas knows that there aren’t enough federal officers to do their job without fundamental cooperation; and that’s to the detriment of the state itself.”
According to the Houston Chronicle, Garcia claimed “because immigration violations for the most part are civil matters that don’t incur criminal penalties, the sheriff’s office does not have probable cause to hold them [if they don’t commit an additional crime]”.
The judge wrote: In short, the county’s assumption that probable cause must exist to detain any individual for whom it receives an ICE detainer request was unreasonable. Its routine detention of such individuals made it inevitable that it would engage in warrantless detention of individuals who were not suspected of any criminal offense, but who became the subjects of ICE detainer requests either because they fell within a noncriminal … enforcement priority or because a detainer request was lodged despite their nonpriority status.
Cadman thinks the judge may be a bit confused.
“The judge seems to conflate criminal and civil cases by somehow suggesting that there is a different Fourth Amendment and probable cause standard, and I don’t necessarily know that I agree with that,” Cadman said. “My sense is that the judge is probably not hugely familiar with immigration law, how it works, and the fact that frequently immigration law, even though it’s ‘civil,’ very closely tracks the way criminal law works, and that’s deliberate.”
Horowitz, for his part, pointed out other lower-court judges have also required there be probable cause of a crime other than an immigration violation in order for a detainer to be honored. For example, a district judge in Illinois last year voided thousands of detainers and ruled ICE must obtain a warrant for each individual and prove the suspected alien is a flight risk.
Horowitz believes Congress must strip the courts of jurisdiction over immigration. “It’s time to face a stone-cold truth: If we are going to continue perpetuating this myth that the unelected federal judiciary has supreme and exclusive jurisdiction over every major social and political question, and is the sole and final arbiter of constitutional interpretation (including the very ability of a nation to remain sovereign and control its own future and the orientation of its own society), we have already lost the war for this country,” he concluded.