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Donald Trump Executive Order Case Study

Donald Trump did not change the existing immigration policy. He signed an Executive Order threatening to withhold Federal funding in order to force sanctuary cities to comply with the existing law. Trump’s Executive Order requires the Director of Homeland Security to compile a weekly list of all crimes committed by non-citizen. Depending on the severity of the crime, the order in which they should be deported was decided. The Order calls for a list of all undocumented immigrants that have been arrested, regardless of the fact that they have only been charged, and not convicted.

His plan does not only affect the undocumented, but anyone who is not a citizen can be deported for a minor offence. Cities and counties in the United States are responsible for collecting this information. If they defy the plan and stops sharing arrest information the Trump administration is poised to send Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents to court to arrest noncitizens charged with a crime and have them deported. In his first month in office, Trump had vowed to triple the number of ICE agents in order to get this done. Rahman, Shakeer) President Trump plans to hire 10,000 Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers and add 5,000 agents to Customs and Border Protection.

The Department of Homeland Security is already understaffed. Hiring this many agents at one time could be difficult. Candidates must pass a written exam, a physical exam, a drug test, a background check, and hold a 4-year college degree. The hiring process takes over 200 days. The Commissioner of Homeland Security reported that although many apply for these positions only about 60% of the applicants bother to make an appointment to take the entrance exam.

The fear is that these agents will be hired without the proper training. (Horowitz, Julia) The budget passed by Congress just this week did give the President $1. 5 billion to secure the borders of the United States, but none of this money is earmarked to hire ICE agents (or a wall) (Giles, Regis) The President’s Order states “Sanctuary jurisdictions across the United States willfully violate federal law in an attempt to shield aliens from removal from the United States. These jurisdictions have caused immeasurable harm to the American people and to the very fabric of our republic.

And “Jurisdictions that willfully refuse to comply are not eligible to receive federal grants, except as deemed necessary for law enforcement purposes by the Attorney General or the Secretary of Homeland Security” The wording of the order is not clear. The law does not specifically define what a sanctuary jurisdiction is, so it is unclear exactly what communities would lose funding. The Executive Order references “willfully violate federal law”, but it does not specify immigration law.

The Order states that the Attorney General and the Secretary of Homeland Security have the ability to decide whether to withhold any funds, not just those funds that are administered by their respective departments. (Trilling, David) Sanctuary cities across the United States are worried about Trump’s Order. Many communities are finding it difficult to budget for next year, fearing the loss of Federal Funds.

They do not know if the cuts will affect their law enforcement budget or all programs. They fear they might lose money across the board for education, housing and infrastructure. Trilling, David,) Mayor De Blasio also notes that the New York City Police Department has slowly and surely built up a relationship of trust with many communities in the city and that has helped keep the city safe. In January of this year then candidate for attorney general, Jeff Sessions vowed to sue any city that was not going to cooperate with Trump’s immigration policies.

In response, de Blasio vowed “If an attempt is made to do that, we will go to court immediately for an injunction to stop it. (Steinbuch, Yaron and Gonen, Yoav), New York City is home to an estimated, 500,000 undocumented immigrants. If this order is enacted and NYC refuses to give up its sanctuary status, it would be on point to lose about $7 billion in federal aid. That is approximately 9% of NYC annual budget. The actual cost to the people of New York City would be much greater. Unscrupulous people would feel emboldened to take advantage of the undocumented, knowing they risk deportation by reporting a crime or a con.

APPEALING THE EXECUTIVE ORDER On January 31, 2017, the city of San Francisco sued the Trump Administration over his plan to defund sanctuary cities. The attorney for the city, Dennis Herrera announced the lawsuit explaining, “The President’s executive order is not only unconstitutional, it’s un-American. San Francisco is poised to lose about $1. 2 billion if Trump succeeds with his order. The lawsuit contends that the Federal government has no authority to require local law enforcement to act as their agents”. Madhani, Aamer) On February 3, 2017, the California county of Santa Clara also sued asserting “The President’s order is an unconstitutional attempt to coerce state and local governments into assisting with mass deportation. ”

They argue that only Congress has the ability to change the conditions to federal spending. Santa Clara could lose about 35% of their total yearly budget. (NEWS RELEASE: Santa Clara County Sues ) THE DECISION On April 25, 2017 California US District Judge Willian Orrick issued a temporary ruling siding with the plaintiffs, the City of San Francisco and Santa Clara County. Fredericks, Schultz) The ruling temporarily put on hold a major part of President Trump’s Executive Order. According to his ruling the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security would not be able to withhold federal funds from sanctuary cities.

The ruling did not find the order to be unconstitutional, but did find that the city and county might incur “immediate and irreparable harm” and that their lawsuit did have the merits to succeed once the final case is heard. ( Kopan, Tal) (Fredericks, Bob and Schultz, Marisa) The ruling went on to say, “Federal funding that bears no meaningful relationship to immigration enforcement cannot be threatened merely because a jurisdiction chooses an immigration-enforcement strategy of which the president disapproves” The Judge’s decision did allow for the Justice Department to withhold immigration related grant money, it the cities or counties did not comply with the law. (Sacchetti, Maria)

In his decision, Judge Orrick cited statements made outside of court by White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, Jeff Sessions and the President himself, who threatened to use this executive order as a weapon against sanctuary cities. (Ford, Matt, Reuters, A Federal Judge Blocked Trump’s ‘Sanctuary Cities’ Executive Order, April 25, 2017 accessed May 1,2017) The Judge went on to say in the decision “and if there was doubt about the scope of the order, the president and attorney general have erased it with their public comments” (Fredericks and Schultz)

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