Defiant sanctuary city mayors insist that despite President-elect Donald Trump’s promise to deport between 2 and 3 million criminal aliens their municipalities will remain safe havens. They should brace themselves.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, among others, have all taken affirmative action to aid and abet illegal immigrants, a crime under federal immigration law. The three mayors have repeatedly boasted about their cities’ sanctuary status. As Mayor Lee recently posted on his Twitter account: “Being a sanctuary city is in our DNA. San Francisco will never be anything other than a sanctuary city.” One lawyer told me that the courts might interpret Lee’s ill-advised comment as an admission of guilt.
Bad news for the mayors: Trump will do everything within his presidential powers to fulfill his promise to Americans and remove criminal aliens.
Rebellious municipal officials in the 325 sanctuary cities have three routes from which to choose: first, they can acknowledge that they’ve broken federal immigration law and agree to cooperate in the future with Immigration Customs and Enforcement. Or, second, they can maintain their insolent stance, disobey the President’s request and, under those circumstances, anticipate that Justice Department grants to those cities will be canceled. California’s sanctuary cities received $132.4 million last year, while Chicago was awarded $28.5 million.
If options No. 1 and 2 are ignored, the cities should expect the incoming Attorney General to sue. Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch, complicit in President Obama’s immigration enforcement gutting, will soon be gone, and the new appointee will share Trump’s pro-enforcement stance.
The facts are straightforward. Illegal entry, or entry without inspection, is a crime. The first offense, a misdemeanor, merits a fine and six months in prison. A repeat offense, a felony, commands a fine and two years in jail.
Moreover, according to 8 U.S. Code 1324, harboring aliens, as big city mayors have done for years, is a crime punishable by a fine and imprisonment from 5 to 20 years. If the violation results in loss of life, as it did for Kate Steinle in San Francisco, and hundreds of other innocent victims, the maximum penalty can be imposed.
Anyone who has paid attention knows that Trump will not bow to political correctness or walk back his promise to voters to end illegal immigration. Long before Trump announced his candidacy, he spoke publicly about the importance of secure borders and national sovereignty. In a 1980 interview with gossip columnist Rona Barrett, a 1987 interview with Oprah Winfrey, and a 1988 interview with Larry King, Trump repeatedly said that he’s tired of seeing Americans get “ripped off” and “taken advantage of,” references to trade and illegal immigration.
Interestingly, in his 1980 exchange with Barrett when he was only 34, Trump said that while he wasn’t interested in a presidential bid, he thought that if he ran, he’d win despite holding views that “may be a little bit unpopular – which may be right, but may be unpopular.”
To be sure, Trump’s vow to enforce immigration law is unpopular with the mainstream media, the immigration lobby and immigration lawyers. But it’s hugely popular with Americans who, in the election, sent the message to the D.C. establishment that when it comes to illegal immigration, enough is enough.
Joe Guzzardi is a Senior Writing Fellow with Californians for Population Stabilization. Contact him at [email protected] and on Twitter @joeguzzardi19.