Obama Administration’s Tentative Pledge to Clamp Down on Sanctuary Cities Hampered By Fatal Flaw

WikipediaAttorney General Loretta Lynch stunned Congress on Wednesday when she declared that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is proposing to take a new, more active role detaining illegal aliens who have been arrested for crimes.

The move seems to target the more than 300 state and local jurisdictions that give sanctuary to illegal alien criminals and refuse to cooperate with federal authorities. ICE will now be able to intervene in individual cases and deport suspected wrongdoers even before some state cases are tried.

“Particularly where we’re dealing with a jurisdiction that is not prone to honoring ICE detainers…our policy is going to be that ICE will instead have the first detainer and that individual will go into ICE custody and deportation,” Lynch told the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies during a budget hearing.

In a letter from the Office of Legislative Affairs at the Department of Justice to John A. Culberson, chairman of the subcommittee, the department stated that it would “potentially seek criminal or civil enforcement options” against any entity that receives federal funds to defray the costs of detaining illegal aliens and refuses to cooperate with ICE.

Riddled with tentative language, it also stated that Justice is “actively considering ways in which we may most effectively carry out our public safety mission as it regards to enforcing the nation’s criminal and immigration laws.”

As FAIR notes in its line-by-line analysis of the document, though, Justice responded to Culberson’s threat to use his budget authority if the department refused to take steps to crack down on sanctuary cities, thus the apparent about face on the issue. However, the carefully worded letter leaves DOJ with virtually unlimited discretion to ignore local sanctuary policies that impede immigration enforcement. The likely end result is that the administration’s policy will remain much the same as it has been for the past seven years and will take no action against sanctuary jurisdictions.

Though welcome, if actually implemented, this new policy will have a limited impact for another key reason: the border is not secured, so many perpetrators may return to the United States. And, they will have one less conviction on their record.

“This may have the effect that there may be local cases that may not be able to be prosecuted because . . . the person will be taken into ICE custody and then deported,” said Lynch.

As outlined in the letter, the program applies to federal inmates under the control of the Bureau of Prisons, which will be able to hand illegal criminals over to ICE for deportation rather than release them to a state or municipality with sanctuary policies, if, indeed, ICE decides to detain the individual. The Obama administration is limiting its enforcement efforts to the worst offenders, so it is possible that ICE will rarely take advantage of this right of first refusal.

Obviously, when cities and counties put the rights of illegal alien criminals over those of American citizens and the federal government does nothing about it, everyone is at risk. Fixing the sanctuary city problem is long overdue, but this alleged new tack by the Justice Department only treats half of the problem because it fails to address a national disgrace: the fact that our borders are still insecure 15 years after 9-11.

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Content written by Federation for American Immigration Reform staff.


  1. avatar

    Interesting..now Mc Connell is doing his treason again…..first with Obama to destroy his presidency, now with Trump…..I’d say Obama should put Attorney General Loretta ***** as the next US supreme court and give the southerners their own medicine in the shape of racism…..and nominate this lady for the US Supreme Court…KARMA!!!

  2. avatar

    In my opinion, means more immigration courts’ processes
    with ICE’s detainees, more guidelines, higher bonds, also,
    Courts working lots of cases clockwork.
    Thank you.
    One can say, prioritize aliens with criminal records over aliens. Stay ready!

  3. avatar

    The poem Ozymandias addresses the theme of civilizational collapse following greatness and was written by English poet Percy Shelley and published in London in 1818.

    I met a traveller from an antique land
    Who said: `Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
    Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
    Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
    And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
    Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
    Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
    The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
    And on the pedestal these words appear —
    “My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
    Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
    Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
    Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
    The lone and level sands stretch far away.’

    • avatar

      And they thought they were in despair and great despair nut yet the US emerged as a power……so?

      • avatar

        So there is a long list of past civilizations and empires that thought that they were invincible and in their hubris and arrogance they made mistakes that led to their decline. So we should learn from history and avoid the mistakes so many past empires made that led to their decline. This is something the Establishments of both major political parties have in recent years been incapable of doing.

    • avatar

      do not be another ignorant citizen….it is everybody;s fault or good…..the People for voting for them…..for the one that never voted and Congress…etc etc ..etc that makes you a low life…..treated with the same love in the name of this administration…..

  4. avatar

    Huge loophole in their language. It says they would “POTENTIALLY seek criminal or civil enforcement options” against any entity that does not cooperate. Just more of the same old same old. Yes, we believe in the law, we will enforce the law, but only if we want to.

    That is not what the committee chairman was proposing. He is saying entities WILL cooperate or money will be withheld. And naturally, her testimony, which seems be pretty straight forward, will be used by supporters of this administration, but the actual policy as stated in the letter is nothing but meaningless mush. Just more deception and lies by this administration.

  5. avatar

    Whole thing sounds like a trojan horse to prevent any protection of Americans from illegal immigrants.

    • avatar

      I am sorry..how about you Martin Gomes that name is not American///how did you come here or your parents……illegally……cross the border…overstay the visa or married?….wait….maybe H1 visa through a job….?

      • avatar

        How do you know? There are families in the southwest with Hispanic surnames who have been here for many generations. Are you some kind of bigot who assumes because he has a Hispanic last name that he can’t be “American” and is here “illegally” ?

        • avatar

          the same kind of bigot like you who looks down on hispanics and assumes all are uneducated n low skill

          • avatar

            I never said “all” are uneducated or low skill. That’s just you lying again. But a large proportion are undereducated and low skilled as compared to the rest of the population, and therefore more likely to take more in government benefits than they pay in taxes. That’s a fact, but I forgot you don’t deal in facts.

          • avatar

            Leland illegals take more gov benefits?…really?……I though the Welfare goes to whites, african americans then hispanics and the rest…then a small portion to Americans born from illegals….get you r facts straight

          • avatar

            You know what the truth is. A household headed by an illegal is more likely to be on welfare than a white one. You keep lying that they aren’t.

          • avatar

            really?….how many households that do that are there and correlate that to the whole Welfare demographics then open your mouth……. you keep on being on denial……you are incapable of quantifying nor understanding our reality……you are the easy vote that contributes the way we are nowadays….remember that……

          • avatar

            AND you seem not to be able to understand what is going on and you are probably no different from Congress “In a Bubble”….

    • avatar

      don’t take it personally….if you want them out..then nobody in your family should have entered illegally nor used your connection to come here…that is what you stand for….be cut by the same knife…..

      • avatar

        Patriotic Hispanic US citizens who support the rule of law are hurt just as much by illegal immigration as any other Americans. Just because an American is Hispanic doesn’t mean they can’t be against illegal immigration.

        • avatar

          Sec borders just being honest…..if this guys came that way…then hypocrisy,,,,,,,,,I don;t care if he does not answer or whatever …big chance he came this way….I have seen many cultures coming here and the children ashamed to speak their language and speak English only….