Continuing the divisive and xenophobic anti-immigrant rhetoric with which he campaigned for the White House, President Trump today issued two executive orders regarding immigration. The first includes unfunded and impractical plans to build a physical barrier along our entire southern border, increase civil detention bed space, and increase the number of Customs and Border Protection officers, while adding new hurdles for those seeking refuge from persecution. The second executive order increases the number of ICE officers and threatens federal funding for jurisdictions that decline to divert resources to enforce federal immigration law.
“These executive orders are a direct affront to our nation’s long history of welcoming immigrants and refugees who revitalize and strengthen our communities,” said Eva Millona, Executive Director of MIRA. “After less than a week in office, this administration has already signaled to our nation’s immigrants and their children that the promise of the American dream no longer exists.”
Numerous aspects of these executive orders place undue financial burdens on local communities. The Trump Administration’s ambition to deport anywhere from 2 to 11 million people is impossible to achieve without co-opting local police resources to do the federal government’s job – something that “sanctuary city” ordinances and policies are designed to prohibit.
These ordinances largely conform to federal law, and President Trump’s threats to withhold federal money from the over 350 towns, cities, and states across the country that decline to enforce federal immigration law are on thin ice, constitutionally-speaking. As Justice Scalia pointed out in Printz v United States, the federal government cannot compel states to enforce federal law.
“By his words and actions, our new President has made it clear that he intends to rule a nation where communities are divided and pitted against one another,” continued Ms. Millona.“The people of Massachusetts will not sit idly by in the face of such attacks, but will stand united to protect the most vulnerable among us.”