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Criminal law & immigration – Keep state & local governments out of enforcing federal immigration law

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Every time I visit a client in the Fairfax County, Virginia, jail evening lawyer visiting section, I cringe over the first of three booths, with a sign that it is reserved for ICE (immigration and customs enforcement) interviews. I cringe not because this means that sometimes I have to wait a good amount of time for one of the remaining booths to become free (because the ICE booths are not allowed for attorney-client meetings), but because state and local governments should leave immigration law enforcement in the hands of federal authorities.

Of course, we have state and local politicians who salivate to help enforce immigration laws. We also have state and local governments (and hotels, for that matter) that salivate over the revenue from allowing their jails to be used for housing federal immigration detainees.

Praised be such cities as Chicago who put their foot down against such nonsense (which for the first time gives has me praising its mayor, Rahm Emanuel).

This is a nation of federalism — and not of centralized national government — that leaves substantial power to the states and local governments. Donald Trump’s wishes for immigration policies are limited by that, and also by the checks and balances of the powers of Congress and the federal courts.

Thanks to Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe for yesterday vetoing a bill to allow longterm detention of criminal defendants sought by federal immigration authorities.

Praised be Florida state judge Milton Hirsch, who on March 3, 2017 struck down — as a violation of the Tenth Amendment (which reserves powers to the states vis a vis the federal government) — the Miami-Dade mayor’s decision “to allow county jails to hold undocumented immigrants awaiting deportation by federal agents.”