This question arrived in response to our new State of the Nullification Movement Report:

how do you feel about sanctuary cities? Can San Francisco, for example, insist that the Federal government continue giving them money but not enforce the Federal laws that the money is supposed to pay them to do?

My response (personally-identifying information withheld):

The immigration/sanctuary city issue is actually pretty complex. But I think you’re in the right direction with it. The short version is that yes – California, or individual cities can say to the feds, you enforce your laws, and we’ll enforce ours. And what I think you’re implying is also correct – they shouldn’t expect to continue getting money that’s given to them specifically for that purpose, helping enforce federal immigration laws.

Here’s the tougher parts, in my opinion:

– Reading Pres. Trump’s executive order on the issue – I was surprised how limited in scope it actually is. He’s nowhere close to even attempting to withhold all money, just some funds in a very narrow area (the federal law he mentions is 8 U.S.C. 1373). He’s also calling for an increase in federal immigration enforcement agents – and he wants to create VOLUNTARY agreements with local governments to have them act as federal immigration agents. From that, it appears that his administration understands that they can pressure, but in the end this has been a federal screw-up and the feds need to handle it. (I wrote about this in more detail in a column at The Hill)

– The other part we’ve not really touched here at TAC is this. Most of programs that “provide” funds to states and local governments are unconstitutional in the first place. Not just on immigration, but just about everything.

Michael Boldin

The 10th Amendment

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