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CHC Letter Calls Out AG Session’s Threat to Local Jurisdictions

Mar 30, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) Chairwoman Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham and 14 members of the CHC sent a letter to the head of the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security in response to the threat that local jurisdictions would lose federal funding if they choose not to use local resources for federal immigration enforcement.  

As the CHC Members write, “troubling reports indicate that ICE is purposefully conducting immigration raids in jurisdictions with ‘sanctuary’ policies in order to pressure jurisdictions to comply with ICE detainers. Rather than promoting community policing, this Administration is threatening localities that are simply exercising their 10th amendment rights in the interest of their own communities and local law enforcement priorities.”

The letter was signed by: Reps. Joaquin Castro, Ruben Gallego, Luis V Gutiérrez, Nanette Diaz Barragán, Grace Napolitano, Nydia M. Velázquez, J. Luis Correa, Juan Vargas, José E. Serrano, Lucille Royball-Allard, Raul Grijalva, Adriano Espaillat, Ruben Kihuen, Tony Cárdenas.

COPY OF LETTER

March 30, 2017

The Honorable Jeff Sessions
Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20530
 
The Honorable John F. Kelly
Secretary of Homeland Security
Department of Homeland Security
Washington, DC 20528
 
 
Dear Secretary Kelly and Attorney General Sessions:

We are alarmed over the Trump Administration’s efforts to threaten and punish states and cities that employ lawful actions to protect immigrant communities.  

As many cities and jurisdictions have already argued, the federal government cannot force counties or cities to detain immigrants in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution.  Similarly, the Tenth Amendment of the Constitution prohibits the federal government from forcing or coercing states to assist in the enforcement of federal immigration laws. If the Trump Administration is truly concerned about protecting public safety then the Administration would not be actively working to find ways to strip jurisdictions of billions in federal law enforcement funding that is crucial in keeping communities safe, including programs that protect and provide aide to crime victims.

We are concerned that the new U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainer policy puts jurisdictions in an impossible situation. If they choose to maintain custody of an individual based solely on the ICE detainer, they may violate that individual’s Fourth Amendment rights and expose themselves to litigation. However, if jurisdictions do not comply with ICE detainers, the Administration has suggested they may risk losing federal funds. 

Additionally, troubling reports indicate that ICE is purposefully conducting immigration raids in jurisdictions with “sanctuary” policies in order to pressure jurisdictions to comply with ICE detainers. Rather than promoting community policing, this Administration is threatening localities that are simply exercising their 10th amendment rights in the interest of their own communities and local law enforcement priorities.

We urge the Trump Administration to stop undermining public safety by coercing cities and local law enforcement agencies to choose between embracing a flawed and constitutionally questionable policy and crucial federal funding. Federal immigration enforcement should not interfere with strong police-community relations or impose inappropriate burdens on local police officers.

Sincerely,

# # #

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), founded in December 1976, is organized as a Congressional Member organization, governed under the Rules of the U.S. House of Representatives. The CHC is dedicated to voicing and advancing, through the legislative process, issues affecting Hispanics in the United States, Puerto Rico and U.S. Territories.