Crime victims harmed by dangerous illegal aliens should be able to sue the so-called sanctuary jurisdictions that unleashed them on an unwitting public in defiance of federal immigration authorities, President Donald Trump declared in his State of the Union address. At the same time, he endorsed pending legislation that would accomplish this goal.
This is another politically astute immigration-related proposal from Trump who demonstrates time and time again that he is one of the few Republican presidents in modern American history who actually knows how to fight the Left. It puts the illegal alien-coddlers and open-borders fanatics on the defensive and educates the public in clearly understandable terms about who the bad guys really are in this fight over the nation’s future. It comes almost a year after Trump proposed shipping immigration detainees to sanctuary cities, which are Democrat strongholds.
As FrontPage readers know, the sanctuary movement gave illegal aliens permission to rob, rape, and murder Americans by, among other things, stigmatizing immigration enforcement. Some left-wingers call sanctuary jurisdictions “civil liberties safe zones” to blur the distinction between citizens and non-citizens by implying illegal aliens somehow possess a civil right to be present in the U.S. Leftists also like to refer to all migrants, including illegal aliens, simply as “immigrants” in order to further muddy the waters. This helps the Left portray conservatives, who are generally not anti-immigrant –they’re anti-illegal immigration— as xenophobic bigots.
Sanctuary cities really ought to be called traitor cities because they are in open rebellion against the United States just as much as the Confederate Army was when it opened fire on Fort Sumter.
President Trump railed against the sanctuary laws of California in his address.
“Senator Thom Tillis has introduced legislation to allow Americans like Jody to sue sanctuary cities and states when a loved one is hurt or killed as a result of these deadly practices,” Trump said Feb. 4, referring to Jody Jones, a guest at the speech whose brother, Rocky Jones, was allegedly shot and killed by two-time deportee Gustavo Garcia, an illegal alien wanted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Local authorities in California ignored ICE and let Garcia go.
The December 2018 killing happened after California, which is home to more than 2 million illegals on which the state lavishes unearned benefits, enacted “an outrageous law declaring their whole state to be a sanctuary for criminal illegal immigrants — a very terrible sanctuary — with catastrophic results,” the president said.
The illegal, who had prior arrests for robbery and assault, was released under California’s sanctuary laws that mandate resistance to federal immigration law. Jones “was at a gas station when this vile criminal fired eight bullets at him from close range, murdering him in cold blood,” Trump said.
And Jones was just one of Garcia’s victims during what Trump called “a gruesome spree of deadly violence.” He killed another person, committed a truck hijacking, an armed robbery, and got into a firefight with police.
“Before SB 54, Gustavo Garcia would have been turned over to ICE officials,” Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux said previously, according to the Washington Post. “That’s how we’ve always done it, day in and day out. After SB 54, we no longer have the power to do that.”
California laws curb the power of state and local law enforcement to hold, question, and transfer detainees at the request of ICE, and punish employers for cooperating with the federal agency.
AB 450 prohibits private employers from voluntarily cooperating with ICE—including officials conducting worksite enforcement efforts. SB 54 prevents state and local law enforcement officials from providing information to the feds about the release date of criminal illegal aliens in their custody. AB 103 imposes a state-run inspection and review scheme on the federal detention of aliens held in facilities pursuant to federal contracts.
Legal challenges to the state’s sanctuary regime have not met with success.
In 2018 the Trump administration sued California, arguing state laws prevented ICE from enforcing federal law. The next year, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals threw out the suit, finding improbably that California law was not in conflict with U.S. immigration law.
Charter cities are allowed in some circumstances to enact legislation that differs from state law, according to the League of California Cities. There are 121 charter cities across the state, including Bakersfield, Chula Vista, Fresno, Irvine, Los Angeles, Palm Springs, San Diego, San Jose, and Vallejo.
But in January, a California appellate court overturned a lower court ruling, finding that Huntington Beach and other charter cities have to follow the sanctuary laws.
Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes blames the sanctuary laws for a surge in crime.
“SB 54 has made our community less safe,” Barnes said earlier this month, according to the Washington Examiner.
“The law has resulted in new crimes because my deputies were unable to communicate with their federal partners about individuals who committed serious offenses and present a threat to our community if released.”
“The two-year social science experiment with sanctuary laws must end,” he added.
The federal legislation touted by Trump could do just that, though with Democrats in control of the U.S. House of Representatives, the bill won’t go anywhere for the time being. Control of the House could shift in November, allowing the next Congress to approve it.
The bill Sen. Tillis introduced, S. 2059, the proposed “Justice for Victims of Sanctuary Cities Act,” would allow a victim of a crime committed by an illegal alien to sue the sanctuary jurisdiction that shielded the alien from ICE for compensatory damages.
Among the original co-sponsors of the bill are Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), and Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
S. 2059 would allow “a civil action [to be] brought against a sanctuary jurisdiction by an individual (or the estate, survivors, or heirs of an individual) who— (A) is injured or harmed by an alien who benefitted from a sanctuary policy of the sanctuary jurisdiction; and (B) would not have been so injured or harmed but for the alien receiving the benefit of such sanctuary policy.” (Its companion bill in the House is H.R. 3964.)
In addition to creating a private right of civil action for victims of sanctuary jurisdictions, the measure would allow the feds to cut off Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding to any jurisdiction that blocks victims from proceeding with lawsuits.
“If politicians want to prioritize reckless sanctuary policies over public safety, they should also be willing to provide just compensation for the victims,” Tillis said when he launched the bill.
“The Justice for Victims of Sanctuary Cities Act is commonsense legislation that will enhance public safety and hold sanctuary jurisdictions accountable for their refusal to cooperate with federal law enforcement.”
Meanwhile, Attorney General William Barr announced Feb. 10 that the U.S. Department of Justice is cracking down on sanctuary states and cities that have “policies and laws designed to thwart the ability of federal officers to take custody of these criminals and thereby help them escape back into the community.”
“These policies are not about people who came to our country illegally but have otherwise been peaceful and productive members of society,” Barr said at the National Sheriffs’ Association Winter Legislative and Technology Conference.
“Their express purpose is to shelter aliens whom local law enforcement has already arrested for other crimes. This is neither lawful nor sensible.”
Barr said the DoJ is taking legal action against New Jersey, King County in Washington state, and California.
Of course, it’s not enough, but it’s a good start.
This article by Matthew Vadum appeared Feb. 14, 2020, at FrontPageMag.