More States' Rights Madness from Another Progressive Bastion

By Dan Cadman on April 30, 2019

Recently, I wrote about the county executive of King County, Wash., issuing a directive denying Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) access to its airport for detention transportation flights, and wondered whether he would next attempt to ban ICE vehicles from traveling on roadways traversing the county.

Sanctuary states and their political subdivisions seem to know no boundaries in their drive to ensure that an already teetering federal immigration system is broken to the point of collapse. The phrase that comes to mind is "cutting off your nose to spite your face" because none of the clueless officials or their supporters in these areas seem to comprehend how quickly and seriously overwhelmed their governmental capacities and social health and safety nets will become, should that collapse occur. Who, then, would they turn to, to help bail them out fiscally or otherwise? A federal government that would itself be overwhelmed?

Think of the irony in such a situation of states asking the president to declare an emergency, given that several of them have filed suit to block Donald Trump's recent emergency declaration. That's one of the wonders of being an observer of all things immigration — boundless opportunities to see both real and potential irony in action, as progressive states-righters and sanctuary advocates spin and pirouette from point to point.

The latest evidence of foolishness-run-rampant comes to us courtesy of a group of strange bedfellows in Massachusetts: state prosecutors, public defenders, and open-borders advocates. They are suing the federal government — in federal court, no less —to try to obtain a restraining order prohibiting ICE agents from making arrests at state courthouses.

Consider that the only reason ICE agents have been obliged to spend endless hours waiting in the halls and courtrooms of the state's courthouses is because police and sheriff's departments refuse to permit them to take custody of criminal aliens at the most logical, safest place: the jails and booking houses where they are being detained after committing state offenses (see here and here).

Consider also that state courthouses are public spaces: How and why, exactly, do these plaintiffs expect that the federal judiciary should act as their executors in excluding ICE, but no other enforcement agencies that may similarly come to a courthouse to effect arrest of someone? I don't quite see how that works, but stranger things have happened, and at least one liberal-progressive judge sitting on the federal bench in Massachusetts — an Obama appointee — has in the past made known her distaste for ICE courthouse arrests, while remaining silent, mind you, about ancillary arrests made in the courthouse by the federal marshals who provide her protection, or by other agencies such as the FBI or DEA.

The coalition of plaintiffs claim they want a cease-and-desist order against ICE because alien criminal defendants are less likely to show up in court if they suspect ICE may be there to take them into custody to answer for their immigration violations. Possibly. But what does that say about bail bond decision-making in the state's criminal justice system, where alien criminal defendants are concerned? Were they really good bets to begin with? These multiple-violators with questionable ties to the community who weren't supposed to be in the United States to begin with, and who show their gratitude by breaking the criminal laws of the communities where they reside?

One would think that prosecutors, of all people, would sympathize with the larger aims of law enforcement organizations, including ICE. Apparently not in Massachusetts. In fact, even the judiciary there — or at least parts of it — is suspect, given that a judge and court security officer were recently indicted on federal charges of obstruction of justice for aiding an illegal alien criminal defendant (who was also a fugitive from Pennsylvania) in sneaking out the back way once it became known that an ICE agent was present and waiting patiently and respectfully to arrest him once the state hearing was concluded that day.

I suspect that it was those indictments that led to this misplaced show of support by prosecutors, along with the public defenders against whom they contest every day in court. But maybe in Massachusetts, they don't really do that either.