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States should not deputize themselves as immigration law enforcers

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Dec 05, 2016 States should not deputize themselves as immigration law enforcers

States should not deputize themselves as immigration law enforcers. Thanks to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio for vowing to stand up against potential efforts by incoming president Trump to create a registry of Muslims and to step up deportation actions.

No thanks to the Virginia lawmakers who in 2008 put in place a law to presume no bond for certain alleged crimes where the federal government’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement identifies the defendant as illegally present in the United States and guarantees “issu[ing] a detainer for the initiation of removal proceedings.” Va. Code § 19.2-120.1.

Under our nation’s system of federalism, states have no obligation to enforce immigration laws. The United States Congress might condition certain federal funding to states on their assistance in enforcing immigration laws, but states still can say no.

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