The border wall and the fate of the DACA program may not become the most contested point between President Donald Trump and the progressive left. Republicans are now in charge of the DOJ and so-called sanctuary cities may be the Waterloo of political dissent in 2018.
Last week, several sanctuary city mayors refused a meeting at the White House to discuss the growing crisis. The DOJ has threatened to subpoena them if they don’t turn over their sanctuary city policies.
What may be a popular cause among these mayors' supporters is also a violation of federal law. Most competent attorneys will tell you that challenging federal authority is generally a losing cause. When it comes to monetary resources, the government has an endless supply.
Consequently, whether they will publicly acknowledge it or not, these urban lawmakers are facing full retreat on a probable lost cause. Refusing to comply with federal law could very well mean major funding reductions by federal authorities. It could also mean a shock wave at the voting booth.
A majority of Americans are becoming alarmed with the liberal stance on illegal immigration. Opposition to sanctuary cities is growing stronger as the perception metastasizes that Democrats are choosing to side with illegal immigrants over American citizens.
Last Wednesday, the Justice Department threatened to subpoena 23 jurisdictions if they do not produce their policies on sanctuary cities. That created a negative response from liberal mayors across the country. They boycotted the White House meeting.
It makes for strong support among their dwindling voting base, but is it good politics for career survival? They voiced their dissent in letters from progressive enclaves such as New York City, Chicago, and San Francisco. Their constituents may be cheering their actions now, but what about down the road?
White House Deputy Press Secretary Lindsay Walters was quick to react. “We are disappointed that a number of mayors have chosen to make a political stunt instead of participating in an important discussion with the President and his administration.”
The mayors are now facing the wrath of a man in the White House whose base is not beholden to their liberal policies.
Letters or not, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his Justice Department attorneys want the records. They demand information relating to whether these localities are “unlawfully restricting information sharing by law enforcement officers with federal immigration authorities.”
The DOJ letter requests documents “reflecting any orders, directives, instructions, or guidance to your law enforcement employees” about how to “communicate with the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, and/or Immigration and Customs Enforcement.”
Sessions vows to have his demands met or there will be further legal action. Will the citizens of these sanctuary cities who pay the taxes allow their mayors to spend millions on future federal lawsuits? How far is the “dedicated” willing to go risking mass voter opposition to their pet project?
The attorney general made it clear in his statement writing, “I continue to urge all jurisdictions under review to reconsider policies that place the safety of their communities and their residents at risk. Protecting criminal aliens from federal immigration authorities defies common sense and undermines the rule of law.”
The soft-spoken nation’s chief law enforcement officer is a career trial attorney. He is facing possible defendants who are career politicians that live by the vote. He has an annual budget in the tens of millions to exert his will through the federal government. Those mayors have city budgets that are already strained to the maximum.
It should be noted that “sanctuary cities” is a phrase typically used to describe jurisdictions that restrict local law enforcement from sharing information with the federal government about the immigration status of those in custody.
If the jurisdictions in question do not comply, federal funding could be withheld and the DOJ may demand the return of 2016 federal funding some of the cities have already received.
The jurisdictions that received letters last Wednesday, according to the Justice Department: Chicago; Cook County, Ill; New York City; the state of California; Albany, N.Y.; Berkeley, Calif.; Bernalillo County, N.M.; Burlington, Vt.; the city and county of Denver, Colo.; Fremont, Calif.; Jackson, Miss.; King County, Wash.; Lawrence, Mass.; City of Los Angeles, Calif.; Louisville, Ky.; Monterey County, Calif.; Sacramento County, Calif.; the city and county of San Francisco; Sonoma County, Calif.; Watsonville, Calif.; West Palm Beach, Fla.; the state of Illinois and the state of Oregon.
The question remains, how far will these mayors will take the issue? But the bigger question is how far their constituencies are willing to go using their own wallets to fund the crusade?
Dwight L. Schwab, Jr. is an award-winning national political and foreign affairs columnist and published author. He has spent over 35 years in the publishing industry. His long-running articles include many years at Examiner.com and currently Newsblaze.com. Dwight is an author of two highly acclaimed books, "Redistribution of Common Sense - Selected Commentaries on the Obama Administration 2009-2014" and "The Game Changer - America's Most Stunning Election in History." He is a native of Portland, Oregon, a journalism graduate from the University of Oregon, and a resident of the SF Bay Area. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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