Ken Blackwell, the former Treasurer and Secretary of the State of Ohio, is a strong advocate for the rights of states and limitations of federal power. But in a Huffington Post column, he explains why the federal government has full rights to withhold money from states and localities that act as "sanctuary" jurisdictions to undermine federal immigration enforcement.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has sent 10 letters to sanctuary jurisdictions, flagged by the Obama administration, asking them to explain their policies.
In response, two of the cities proved that they were willing to work with federal immigration authorities in order to receive the federal grants. Chicago, however, has filed a lawsuit against the DOJ for potentially withholding the federal funds.
In his article Ken Blackwell writes,
Obviously, many Americans disagree passionately over the issue of immigration. But not in question is the fact that immigration law is made by Congress and enforced by the president.
Many other issues, such as welfare, are best left to states to decide and manage. But not immigration. Ultimately the federal government must decide who is allowed to enter America and under what conditions.
Blackwell makes the case that, “what the Constitution does not do, however, is allow the federal government to force states to enforce national law" the federal government is also not obligated “to hand out money to states”.
He also notes that,
In the meantime, some states are acting to back federal law. In May, Texas began implementing legislation which bars local officials from withholding immigration information from federal agencies. Bills have been introduced in at least 31 other states to bar cities and counties from becoming sanctuaries to illegal aliens and criminals.
For too long local officials have obstructed federal immigration law with impunity. The Constitution protects the right of states to say no. But the Constitution does not require national taxpayers to subsidize lawbreakers. The president’s message is simple: play ball or pay the price.
Read Blackwell’s full article on The Huffington Post.
Ken Blackwell is a member of the Policy Board of the American Civil Rights Union
Updated: Mon, Aug 28th 2017 @ 12:35pm EDT