The Supreme Court on Friday granted a request from the Biden administration to dismiss several cases around the previous administration’s withholding of federal funds from so-called “sanctuary cities.” Punishing localities for pro-immigrant policies was a favorite pastime of the Department of Justice (DOJ) under former Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III since the beginning of the previous administration. But on Thursday, the Biden administration sought to put the issue to rest, finally.
“Local law enforcements’ ability to protect their jurisdictions should never be compromised to push an anti-immigrant agenda,” New York state Attorney General Letitia James said according to The Wall Street Journal. Her state had been among those targeted by the previous administration for limiting cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). “We look forward to continuing to work with the administration to ensure state and localities never have to choose between protecting their autonomy and protecting the public’s safety.”
The previous administration had targeted cities with so-called “sanctuary” policies based on the claim that limiting cooperation with mass deportation agents endangers communities. But that claim has always been a lie. “Cities that have adopted ‘sanctuary’ policies did not record an increase in crime as a result of their decision to limit cooperation with federal immigration authorities, according to a new Stanford University report,” The Washington Post reported last year. “The data show that the policies were effective at limiting deportations of nonviolent offenders but did not result in higher crime rates in those cities.”
Not that the previous administration actually really cared. It had an anti-immigrant agenda to carry out, and it was ready strip states of critical funding in order to make that happen. “Lower courts in New York and San Francisco had reached varying conclusions on the Justice Department’s authority to withhold funds that Congress had authorized to assist local police departments,” The Wall Street Journal continued.
“This executive order was unconstitutional before the ink on it was even dry,” San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera said following a November 2017 ruling against the previous administration. The city had been the first locality in the nation to sue the previous administration over the policy. “This president and his administration have been trying to twist facts, stoke fears and demonize immigrants to score cheap political points,” Herrera continued.
Immigrant rights advocates have long noted that contrary to right-wing talking points, so-called “sanctuary cities” do follow the law by refusing to hold immigrants for ICE unless there’s a judicial warrant. Courts have already ruled over the years that police holding immigrants past their release date just so ICE can come get them is unconstitutional. Some localities have had to pay big-time for collaborating with ICE. Last October, Los Angeles County agreed to pay $14 million to settle one class-action suit.
The Supreme Court had previously granted Biden administration requests around two other cases stemming from the previous administration, the racist and stupid border wall that Mexico never did pay for, and its anti-asylum Remain in Mexico policy. The Biden administration asked the court to remove the cases from its calendar, which it then did. “Both cases are still pending but will probably be dismissed as moot, since Biden's Justice Department will not defend either facet of the Trump immigration policy,” NBC News reported.