“Let’s be crystal clear on the scope of this mission,” Brown wrote in a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Wednesday. “This will not be a mission to build a new wall. It will not be a mission to round up women and children or detain people escaping violence and seeking a better life. And the California National Guard will not be enforcing federal immigration laws.” -- Tolan, Murphy, Sanchez, Mercury News, April 12, 2018
The war against kindness
No government among the many, many government jurisdictions that compose the United States of America is powerful enough to deport all the undocumented people and their American-born children in the land. Like everything else Fat Donny the Rump does, it's a TV stunt: the specter of Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers rounding up a group of dark-skinned people, putting them in buses, and taking them away from the town or the city, supposed to be otherwise inhabited by God-fearing White people, like it should be in the Rump's imaginary America. In essence, a spectacle of Meanness.
Aside from certain industries, most people don't benefit from the undocumented people living among them. People object to having recorded messages of businesses or government offices that ask if they want the information in English or Spanish. What country in the world hates the very existence of foreign languages more than the US? And the hostility toward people continuing to use their foreign languages once they come to the US is as old as the nation and the waves of immigrants, as regular as the waves of the Pacific Ocean, as consistent as American griping, as contemptible as an Italian-American grammar school principal suspending two fourth grade Greek girls for speaking their home language during recess, or schools that fined Mexican kids for speaking Spanish. Is that the America Fat Donny and his Numbnut Knucklehead Army thinks will "make America great again?"
The urge to offer sanctuary is as old as Ancient Greece, where hospitality to the stranger was the highest social value and transgressions of it were bound to get the gods on your case. Hospitality to the stranger is the essence of civility. It is inconvenient, there are expenses involved, foreign languages and customs appear; but to join with the forces that mistreat the immigrant stranger is barbaric. It is the culture of Fat Donny the Rump and all the people who voted for him, who think the way to solve all the problems of the world is by force and cruelty. It is the way of all the bigshots who demand that we spend our blood and treasure on foreign wars begun to right imaginary wrongs.
Before this nation begins to bellow about exporting "democratic values" with its war machine, it should consider the humble attitude of kindness. It is not as expensive as a rocket, but for us, it is harder to produce, as it is harder for our churches to produce Christians than hordes of bigots.
A nation that was humble enough to imagine that it needed to learn about the world would be kinder to the countries south of it, rather than bragging about the size of its stick. -- blj
Tribune News Service
Trump's 'Sanctuary Cities' Policy Receives Chilly Reception in Court
By Bob Egelko
Courts throughout the nation are considering President Trump's efforts to compel unwilling cities and states to help carry out his hard-line immigration policies. But his most far-reaching decree, a January 2017 order to cut off federal funds to San Francisco and other sanctuary cities, received an apparently chilly reception from a federal appeals court Wednesday.
Trump issued the executive order five days after taking office, telling Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Department of Homeland Security to make sure that "sanctuary jurisdictions" are "not eligible to receive" any federal grants.
U.S. District Judge William Orrick III of San Francisco issued a nationwide injunction blocking the order in April 2017. Attorneys in Sessions' office had argued that Trump was referring only to a few federal grants, but Orrick said the president's words, and his later statement on Fox News that a funding cutoff would be "a weapon" to force a change in sanctuary policies, showed that he was threatening local governments with losses of huge sums that he had no legal authority to withdraw.
The federal government funds a wide range of state and local programs, including schools, transportation, health care and social services. San Francisco receives about $2 billion a year in federal aid, one-fifth of its overall budget, and Santa Clara County, the other plaintiff in the suit against the Trump administration, receives $1.7 billion, more than one-third of its revenue.
On Wednesday, a high-ranking Justice Department lawyer, Assistant Attorney General Chad Readler, told the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco that Trump hadn't made any threats or withdrawn any funding and had merely directed Sessions to carry out the law. Members of the three-judge panel seemed skeptical.
Chief Judge Sidney Thomas said Trump had made statements about withholding money from sanctuary cities, and the actions he took threatened their funding. Thomas also said the Trump administration appeared to be claiming authority that goes beyond federal law by seeking to require cities and counties to cooperate with immigration officers or lose their funding.
If Orrick's interpretation of Trump's order was accurate, Thomas asked Readler, "would you agree that the executive order was unconstitutional?"
Perhaps, Readler replied, but Trump's order was actually much narrower and applied only to specific Justice Department and Homeland Security grants.
In that case, Thomas asked, why does the administration object to an injunction against withdrawing other categories of federal funding?
Judge Ronald Gould asked Readler whether Sessions, at Trump's directive, would have the constitutional authority to strip sanctuary cities of funding for education, health care and disaster relief. Readler said no such order had been issued.
Gould, however, also asked San Francisco's lawyer, Deputy City Attorney Christine Van Aken, why the city and Santa Clara County needed a nationwide injunction to protect their funding. Van Aken replied that Trump's order had nationwide impact.
The third panel member, Judge Ferdinand Fernandez, asked no questions during the 40-minute hearing.
More than 300 cities and counties nationwide have limited the cooperation their law enforcement agencies are allowed to extend to federal immigration officials seeking to detain and deport immigrants for crimes or illegal entry.
In a separate case before Orrick, the Trump administration is seeking to withdraw several million dollars from San Francisco and Santa Clara County for refusing to notify immigration officials of the planned release of undocumented immigrants in local custody. Orrick refused to dismiss the local governments' case last month and has scheduled a hearing for September on whether the administration has the power to revoke the grants. A federal judge in Chicago has ruled in a similar case that no such advance notice to immigration officials is required by federal law.
The Trump administration has also sued the state of California, in federal court in Sacramento, seeking to overturn state laws that limit local governments' authority to cooperate with immigration agents or allow them access to local jails and prohibit employers from allowing federal agents to enter private workplaces without a judicial warrant.
At Wednesday's hearing, lawyers for San Francisco and Santa Clara County urged the court to reject the administration's attempt to interpret Trump's order as merely a directive to the Justice Department to target a few federal grants.
San Francisco has had to set aside substantial funds as a hedge against the prospect of federal withdrawal, and "shouldn't be required simply to trust the federal government on this continuing threat," said Van Aken, the city's lawyer.
Danielle Goldstein, a deputy Santa Clara County counsel, noted that Trump had commended the city of Miami for revoking its sanctuary policy because it feared the loss of federal funds.
Trump's executive order, Goldstein said, forces her county to decide whether to follow its own policy or "risk financial ruin."
San Jose Mercury News
Brown to send additional National Guard troops — some to the Mexico border — to fight gangs, human traffickers and gun and drug smugglers
Casey Tolan, Katy Murphy, Tatiana Sanchez
After a week of suspense, and after months of blasting President Trump’s immigration policies, Gov. Jerry Brown said Wednesday that he would accept federal funding to add 400 California National Guard troops to a program that targets gangs, human traffickers and gun and drug smugglers.
Brown’s closely watched decision comes after the Trump administration asked border state governors last week to send National Guard contingents to help defend the border following reports that a caravan of Central American migrants was headed to the U.S. Republican Governors in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona have already started deploying extra troops.
While Brown’s move might seem like a U-turn from his earlier resistance to Trump, it’s not clear how many of the California guardsmen and women will actually end up at the U.S.-Mexico border.
“The location of Guard personnel – and number specifically working in support of operations along the border, the coast and elsewhere in the state – will be dictated by the needs on the ground,” Evan Westrup, a Brown spokesman, said Wednesday.
The state’s program to combat transnational crime – gangs, drugs, guns and human trafficking — is currently staffed by 250 personnel statewide, including 55 at the California-Mexico border, according to Brown’s letter.
“Let’s be crystal clear on the scope of this mission,” Brown wrote in a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Wednesday. “This will not be a mission to build a new wall. It will not be a mission to round up women and children or detain people escaping violence and seeking a better life. And the California National Guard will not be enforcing federal immigration laws.”
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Trump has said that he wants as many as 4,000 guard members to assist Border Patrol agents until a wall is built.
As California and the federal government have sparred over immigration policy, Brown has faced political pressure in the Golden State to deny Trump’s request. All of the major Democratic candidates for governor said they would turn down the ask.
Individual governors direct their state’s National Guard troops, although the president can federalize the guard and take control in some situations.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the administration was “glad to see California Governor Jerry Brown work with the administration and send members of the National Guard to help secure the southern border.”
Perhaps surprisingly, advocates on both sides of the immigration debate had words of support for Brown’s move.
“I appreciate that Governor Brown has designed a clear and limited mission focused on real public safety threats — not phantom threats posed by women and children fleeing violence,” said State Sen. Kevin de León, who’s challenging Sen. Dianne Feinstein from the left this year, although he added he would have preferred to send the guard troops to assist hurricane recovery in Puerto Rico.
Ira Mehlman, a spokesman for the pro-restrictive immigration law Federation for American Immigration Reform, said his group also appreciated the move.
“Part of the reason why we’re encountering this surge of large numbers of illegal aliens is because of policies like those in California that promise people that they’ll be protected if they come to the U.S. illegally,” Mehlman said. “Maybe (Brown is) trying to demonstrate that he hasn’t completely disassociated California with the immigration policies in the U.S.”
He suggested the move was the result of several Southern California cities rebelling against the state’s sanctuary policies in recent weeks.
Westrup said that the governor’s decision to deploy 400 troops is “consistent” with the number requested by the federal government, but didn’t say whether federal officials had requested they be assigned to fight transnational crime or to a different assignment.
The Department of Homeland Security did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday afternoon.
In his letter, Brown declared that “there is no massive wave of migrants pouring into California,” contrary to assertions by some of Trump’s supporters.
In 2006, President George W. Bush asked Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to deploy California national guard troops in defense of the Mexican border. Schwarzenegger signed off on sending 1,000 troops, but denied Bush’s requests for additional manpower. He also sent 224 troops to the border in 2010 after a request by President Barack Obama.