King County, Washington, Denies ICE Access to its Airport

By Dan Cadman on April 29, 2019

On April 23, 2019, Dow Constantine, the executive of King County, Wash., issued an order prohibiting Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from using the facilities of the county's airport for the purpose of detainee transportation flights. The proclamation borders on the absurd with its flights of fancy and overblown rhetoric.

I'd sure like to know whether the King County airport has been the happy recipient of federal dollars in recent years. I'd bet good money that it has.

Having issued this executive order, what's next on the agenda for Constantine? A proclamation denying ICE vehicles the right to travel on roads and highways within the county's borders?

Of course, states and counties have the temerity to argue that such funds are somehow irrelevant to their decisions with regard to federal operations. Happily for them, there are enough progressive judges sitting on the bench these days to buy into that argument. We've seen it with regard to denying Justice Department grant monies to sanctuary states and counties. Ironically, it's one of the few times that we see progressive judges fall back on "strict text" interpretations of the law to argue that there cannot possibly be any rational reason for the Justice Department to reserve its limited grant funds to states and counties that fully cooperate with it and the Department of Homeland Security in protecting American communities from the adverse effects of illegal immigration and, most particularly, crimes committed by aliens. Needless to say, I beg to differ with that absurdist view.

How proudly these new progressive states-righters channel the arguments of the old South that led to the Civil War.

One would have thought that one of the key lessons of that war was that federalism, and therefore the sovereign United States, only survives in a cooperative atmosphere, rather than by a patchwork quilt in which each state gets to pick and choose which federal rules it chooses to acknowledge. The reason we now live in a federal republic is because the Articles of Confederation, which did in fact give states supremacy, rendered the federal government so weak as to be incapable of survival.

As the nation goes, in the long run, so go the states and their political subdivisions — all of them, collectively, and each of them individually. What is it about that equation that is hard to understand?

I'm not sure where we're headed with all of this but it can't end well.