Texas Says It Will Withhold Funds From Sanctuary Cities, And It Is The Ethical Thing To Do


Texas Governor Greg Abbott  says that the state is likely to cut off funding for Travis County after rebellious Sheriff Sally Hernandez announced it would cease cooperation with federal immigration authorities. Nationally, new Attorney General Jeff Sessions is expected to do the same with federal funds, punishing various grandstanding sanctuary cities, including the Big Apple, New York City itself.

Illegal immigration facilitating cities should have been stopped at the very beginning, but the Obama Administration, pledged to enforce  the laws of the land, allowed this defiance to continue and spread. As part of an expected, indeed promised, crackdown on illegal immigration, Donald Trump should emulate his most similar past President and take a firm stand against this virtual nullification, just like Old Hickory.

Says Professor Turley…

The coming weeks will see if these confrontations are going to worsen but the politics are not promising for compromise. That would result in the type of confrontation between federal and state authorities that we have not seen on such a large scale. There are over three dozen such cities. It could lead to some interesting constitutional challenges over conditions tied to federal funding. In 1987 in South Dakota v. Dole, the Supreme Court upheld federal conditions that withheld highway funding from cities that did not enforce the federal drinking age…. Ironically, these largely liberal cities may rely the most on a ruling against the Obama Administration. In 2012, the Court found such coercion in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, when the Court struck down a provision of the Affordable Care Act that would have blocked federal Medicaid funding to states that did not adopt a Medicaid expansion.

[ I think the professor is stretching here. A lot. If that’s the best legal precedent the sanctuary cities can muster, they are doomed to lose. ]

He continues…

The result could be a major reconsideration of what constitutes coercion from federal conditions. I have never been a fan of federal conditional spending. I have a hard time with the notion of the federal government taking more in taxes than its needs only to send the money back to the states with conditions on how they handle traditional areas of local and state authority. Having said that, the Court has allowed such conditions and these cities may have to make a choice between defying the federal government or accepting hundreds of millions in federal support for the criminal justice system.


And be sure to tell those cities that the money they lose will be used to build The Wall…


Pointer and Source: Res Ipsa Loquitur

38 thoughts on “Texas Says It Will Withhold Funds From Sanctuary Cities, And It Is The Ethical Thing To Do

    • I hope that this is being stated in jest. The Indians who Jackson evicted lived there centuries before Jackson made them march on the trail of tears. Not so with the Mexican and Central American “undocumented immigrants”.

      • Wayne, Jack drew the initial comparison to Jackson. Your comment just proves what I think is Rich’s point, which is that Jack saying Trump should emulate Andrew Jackson on this issue was a really bad and tone-deaf thing to say.

        • It was an accurate thing to say, and anyone who thinks it’s tone deaf knows nothing about Jackson except the Trail of Tears. That’s about like only knowing that FDR locked up Japanese Americans and thinking all Lincoln did was arrest newspaper editors. I expect readers here to be historically literate. If they aren’t, I don’t care what they think is “tone deaf.” Here, learn something. See if there is a word about deportation, or native Americans in the article. There isn’t, because the episode, which is what I was referring to and obviously so, had nothing to do with either.

          Don’t play gotcha with me. Serious topic, clear reference.

          • Most folks who grew up in the current educational system probably know only that, Jack, just like most early and high school history books reduce WW2 to one paragraph about the mistreatment of the Japanese Americans, one paragraph about the tremendous damage done by the atomic bombs, and one more paragraph about everything else, and that’s in descending order of length. Historical literacy is frankly frowned upon by the up and coming generation, who dismiss it as “people who I don’t know who killed people I don’t know in a place I’ve never been.”

            • most early and high school history books reduce WW2 to one paragraph about the mistreatment of the Japanese Americans, one paragraph about the tremendous damage done by the atomic bombs, and one more paragraph about everything else, and that’s in descending order of length

              You have no fucking idea what you’re talking about.

              • I think I DO have a “fucking idea” what I am talking about. I’ve seen the books. They weren’t quite that bad when I was in school, way back in the dark ages, but they had a very bare-bones chapter about the war in the main body of the book, with no fewer than five articles at three pages each about the former two issues.

      • I bet those native americans who lived there for centuries sure wish they had dealt with their illegal immigration problem more forcefully before the immigrants reached a critical mass.

        • They had an illegal immigration problem?

          I wasn’t aware the nomadic tribes with ever changing borders, generational mass movement practices and no actual legally described structures could actually have an “illegal” immigration problem… or an immigration problem at all…

          • Or even a belief that property could be owned. This is my least favorite pro-illegal immigration argument of all the bad ones, and there are only bad ones—that it’s hypocritical for the US not to have open borders.

            • I don’t think that was Matthew’s argument, Jack, or that he was making a pro-illegal immigration argument. On the contrary, I’ve always read this line as meaning that we’d better take care of our immigration problems now before what happened to the Native Americans happens to us.

              This is bad for the reasons tex stated, but it’s also hysterical.

              • It depends on whether Matthew’s comment was serious, or tongue in cheek. I assumed it was tongue in cheek, knowing Matthew to be a smart guy who wouldn’t adopt a silly anti-illegal immigration argument, when there are so many better ones. However, the tongue-in cheek version is ambiguous. Was he just playing, or was he suggesting that anti immigration concerns are hypocritical from the land-grabbing white man? Luckily, Tex’s comment is valid whatever Matthew meant. I was just adding on to Tex. Since actually worrying about losing the land mass the way the Native Americans did is, as you say, hysterical, I didn’t attribute such a belief to Matthew. However, none of that is germane. Nations have to enforce immigration laws, and illegal immigrants are here illegally.

                • Your assessment is accurate. No, I don’t think the Central American population can establish a majority and “take over” the US. Nor do I particularly worry about violent revolution.

                  My argument is specious. But then there really isn’t relevance in the treatment of the Native American populace in relation to the current immigration situation. What happened generations before anyone alive was born is irrelevant to current illegal immigration and its treatment.

                  What I said can be an opening to explain that yes, my argument is logically and ethically silly,.but so is dragging the history of Native American treatment into this argument.

    • Only if you get your history from gum wrappers. Andy did a lot that had nothing to do with Indians, and his battle over nullification with South Carolina was one of them. Leaping from that very important example of enforcing the law to Andy’s worst decision, when he defied the law, and the Supreme Court, is warped history, and misdirecting an otherwise clear historical reference. Cut it out.

  1. Good. I’m glad that Governor Abbott made this decision. Unfortunately, it is extremely unlikely that it will happen in California thanks to people like Gavin Newsom who plans to run for Governor in a very blue state without the Feds stepping in.

  2. If Obama didn’t want to enforce existing immigration law, then why not campaign to change the law? Why didn’t he just push for open borders?

    Having laws on the books and then penalizing local governments for enforcing them, and looking the other way when cities refuse to enforce them…that’s some shady, banana republic third world stuff, like you’d expect from, I dunno, a politician from Chicago.

    • What I find offensive is the monocultural aspect of the illegal immigration. We don’t have the world’s huddled poor making a melting pot, we have a single culture coming here. There are plenty of impoverished people all over the world who would love to get here but can’t because of our refusal to create a lawful, orderly system and instead let chaos rule.

  3. I have a question, Jack, and it’s possibly as much rhetorical as legal, but since you are a lawyer, your take would be instructive.
    The site that produced the map above, cis.org, has as part of it’s narrative on how to stop sanctuary cities, this point:

    Selectively initiate prosecution under the alien harboring-and-shielding statute, which is a federal felony;

    That statute is here, and states in relevant part:

    Any person who –

    (iii) knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that an alien has come to, entered, or remains in the United States in violation of law, conceals, harbors, or shields from detection, or attempts to conceal, harbor, or shield from detection, such alien in any place, including any building or any means of transportation;

    So my question, I guess, is can this be enforced by the U.S. Attorney’s office against a deliberate policy by county and city governments to “recklessly disregard” immigration status? This subparagraph seems to describe the activities of at least some sanctuary cities almost to a fare-thee-well. I would assume it would generally have to be in the civil context for permitting illegal consumption of federal resources (res ipsa loquitur, anyone?).
    As far as your point about Texas, it’s a consistent source of wonder to me that state governments continue to allow their cities to flout the law. Gov. Abbott mentions Travis county, but he hasn’t mentioned Dallas county, also listed on CIS’s map.
    One also has to wonder about red states like Georgia, Kentucky, Kansas, and others who have entities with sanctuary policies. Regardless of what a federal government may do under Donald Trump, nothing is preventing states from making it illegal for cities to have sanctuary policies. I know under Arizona v. United States the states can’t enforce federal immigration law, but they can enforce a law that makes it a crime for local law enforcement to deliberately not cooperate with federal law enforcement. That part of Arizona’s law was upheld. So what’s stopping other red states?

    • Glenn, a minor correction…Dallas is a sanctuary city, by proclamation of it’s idiot mayor, but Dallas County commissioners have not taken such a stand. The bulk of the city is in Dallas County, of which it is the county seat; however, sections of the city are located in Collin, Denton, Kaufman, and Rockwall counties. That I know of, Travis County is the only full county where the local Sheriff has made a fool of herself/himself.

        • On further reflection, Glenn, it may not matter. Dallas takes up all or most of Dallas county, so even if the county isn’t a sanctuary county, it really is, because Dallas is.

  4. Obama fought Jan Brewer on the question of what authority was primary on immigration and won. It stands to reason if Trump followed the same reasoning on this policy his exercise of Federal authority would also stand up, unless the SCOTUS is going to somehow torture the legal principles involved. It also stands to reason that no municipal authority has an automatic right to the state’s money, unless a statutory right or entitlement (these usually pertain to education) has been created.

    The fact is that money talks and everything else walks, and, despite all the posturing these lefty politicians may do, they know which side the bread is buttered on. The odds they can stall the Federal government long enough to turn all these illegal immigrants into back-door Democratic voters before they and the existing voters feel the financial pinch are not high at the moment. No one even blinks now at the universal drinking age of 21, even if some grumble that if you are old enough to fight and die for your country you should be allowed to take a drink. We accept it as a fact of life. This will just be another one of those facts of life.

    • Regarding: “It also stands to reason that no municipal authority has an automatic right to the state’s money, unless a statutory right or entitlement (these usually pertain to education) has been created.”

      All powers that any local entity derive entirely from the state. Not just the power to receive state collected money, but all authority; taxation, law creation, everything. It is within the power of a state to dissolve any local entity. There may be state constitutional limits, but such authority is not a federal matter. The only federal matter is if democracy, due process or civil liberty is denied to citizens.

  5. Clearly the President is required by his oath to support the Constitution to require that all laws be enforced. I agree with Isaac that if Mr. Obama did not approve of the law, then it was his obligation to use the legislative branch to attempt to change or replace the law not obstruct its enforcement.

    While I believe that the federal government has an obligation to enforce its laws, I also have to believe there must be a time to protest those laws in some fashion. I feel another law that is a somewhat historic parallel was the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. That led to various attempts to thwart the law, including nullification, by some northern jurisdictions. In that situation, I hope that I would have the courage to have been one of the resisters of the law. How far can such resistance go and by whom and the United States still remain a country governed by law?

  6. Jack, you’ve already got some people accusing you of being a Trump supporter. I expect this will add to that perception among some:
    “And be sure to tell those cities that the money they lose will be used to build The Wall…”

    What those critics need to accept is that when the president is right, we should support him. And on the specific instance of sanctuary cities, Trump is right.

    • Wait—who’s accused me of being a Trump supporter? Let me at ’em. I’m a 100% consistent President-supporter and US supporter, and a willing and prompt critic of either when they cross ethics lines.

      I remain firm in my belief that Trump’s Wall will be his version of Obama closing Gitmo.

      • On the first point: I refer to several now banned commenters who’ve accused you of being pro-Trump.

        On the second: It will be interesting to see. I heard the price tag of $40 Billion to build the wall. Suddenly the spend happy left is all concerned about increasing the federal budget by ~0.1%. For that price it seems like a stupid promise to break.

          • It’s also completely unnecessary. The vast majority of illegal immigrants are not border crossers, but people who overstay their visas; thus, a giant wall would do nothing to keep out the majority of illegal immigrants. Not to mention that there are more immigrants currently leaving the US to return to Mexico than there are coming here at the moment. Unemployment is not high (note that today Spicer refused to give a number, because he knows that), so it can’t be said that deporting illegal immigrants is crucial to helping unemployed citizens.

            Really, I can see why people oppose illegal immigration, and I’m not saying the issue is unimportant, but the idea that it should be a national priority at this point in time is entirely irrational, and based on a Bizarro version of America. The only reason it was a major issue in our last election was that illegal immigrants are an easy scapegoat.

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