U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) / Flickr DHS Secretary John F Kelly holds...
U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) / Flickr

We’re becoming a stronger banana republic, one where people are happy to throw their political opponents in jail. From Esquire

Thomas Homan guy, the acting director of the Immigrations and Custom Enforcement section of the Department of Homeland Security …has found within himself an authoritarian knob that turns way past 11. He wants to throw California Governor Jerry Brown in jail, along with any other elected state official who adopts a “sanctuary” policy in the area over which they have jurisdiction.

Let the lawyer in me rise for a second. Immigration has always been a federal issue, that by law, could legally left up to the federal government to enforce.

Sanctuary cities are not in any way a compete sanctuary. The Feds are more than free to enforce immigration policy and do, in some areas, enforce in any damn city they want.

But there is nothing compelling the state or local government to cooperate, nor force, them to hand over people they discover to be undocumented immigrants.

Indeed, there is a very sensible reason they might not even ask. Local governments are often much more concerned that people who might be witnesses to a serious violent crime won’t oreport it to the local cops because of fear they’ll be deported. That’s a very legitimate concern for a city or state government, and city and state governments have always been in charge of local law-enforcement, not federal, unless they agree to be.

Homan said political leaders in sanctuary cities, which don’t cooperate with ICE officials looking to make immigration arrests, are breaking the law when they “knowingly shield and harbor an illegal alien.” “That is a violation of 8 USC 1324. That’s an alien-smuggling statute. I’ve asked the Department of Justice to look at this,” he said. “Can we hold them accountable? Are they violating federal law?”

No, they are not knowingly shielding or harboring an illegal immigrant. They might not ask, might not take them in and report them, but that isn’t shielding, or harboring. They aren’t keeping these people from the federal government, they’re just not reporting.

ICE will definitely persuade an immigrant-hating Republican Justice Department. But there’s a reason the Obama administration wasn’t sued for not contesting the sanctuary city policy before a judge. So long as it’s before principled judges, the Obama Justice Dept would win, Repubs would lose.

That wouldn’t stop federal agents ordered by the Justice Department from arresting and jailing democrats, force Dems to defend themselves to get out on bond.

Jesus, this is so damn dangerous.

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