Upon taking office, Trump signed an executive order finding that “Sanctuary jurisdictions across the United States willfully violate Federal law in an attempt to shield aliens from removal from the United States. These jurisdictions have caused immeasurable harm to the American people and to the very fabric of our Republic.”
This week, on November 15, 2017, the Department of Justice announced that sanctuary jurisdictions will lose access to certain federal law enforcement grants if they take actions the federal government has classified as “giving sanctuary”. The money to be withheld includes funds for crime prevention specialists to advise on matters like gang violence and mass identity theft.
The lawyers I have talked with explain that our local county jail does not prohibit ICE agents from interviewing inmates. The jail does not stop ICE from looking through records, or otherwise impede their work. Yet our jail is considered a “Sanctuary” because it does not physically detain inmates once they have finished serving their sentences and are free to go – unless and until there is a showing of “probable cause” to detain, from ICE or any other jurisdiction.
“Probable Cause” comes from the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
If ICE provides paperwork documenting their “probable cause” for having the local government hold a prisoner who is free to go, the county jail can do that. And it would be legal. The jail regularly ships people off to other cities, states, and even the feds for criminal cases. But this is all highly technical. Let me put it into the words of an old jail guard. You may not agree with everything that guard has to say, but this is not an open borders proponent or an anarchist, just a simple government servant:
“You might just see me as an old veteran with a badge and a gun, and that’s okay. I can take it. But believe it or not, I fought for democracy and I am here to uphold the US constitution. If ICE is too lazy to do their paperwork right, that’s their problem. I’m not here to protect anybody breaking the law, and that includes ICE, my fellow officers, the judges, whoever! The laws aren’t just for inmates! And I’m not some kind of open borders baby either. It’s not about that at all. I’ll tell you who gets sanctuary with me – the United States Constitution! That’s who gets sanctuary. The rest is just bullshit.”