After eight years of virtually no immigration enforcement including placing entire classes of illegal aliens off-limits to enforcement, the Trump administration has returned to policies that existed before President Obama decimated them. These moderate levels of enforcement have resulted in shock, horror, hysteria, petulance, and consternation, on the part of some state and local politicians who are responding by implementing ever more radical sanctuary policies, just like California passed late last week.
Congress can, and should, respond to this defiance of federal law by cutting off targeted funding to these jurisdictions. But Congress has earned its 15 percent approval ratings for a reason. Likewise, the Department of Justice could sue these jurisdictions to force an end to these illegal policies - and perhaps they are considering it.
But in the meantime, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is sending a gentle reminder to these jurisdictions: You are still part of the United States and the federal government has the power to enforce its laws whether you like it or not. In fact, ICE has responded by stepping up enforcement efforts in places where sanctuary policies endanger public safety.
The move by ICE is more than just retaliatory. Willie Sutton-like, ICE is focusing enforcement on places where they are most likely to find criminal aliens who pose a threat to the American people: namely, sanctuary jurisdictions. The message to local sanctuary politicians is clear: If you won't turn over the criminal aliens we are asking for, we'll go find them ourselves. Not only that, if we happen to run across other illegal aliens, even ones who have not committed other illegal acts, we're going to take them too.
Ironically, sanctuary policies - which are often passed in the name of improving public safety - actually endanger the lives of innocent Americans, immigrants, and even other illegal aliens...the very people pro-sanctuary politicians seem to care about the most.
Dan Stein is the president of the Federation of Americans for Immigration Reform.