Time for the weekly edition of Blogger Candidate Forum. Before we get going, how about that campaign-style rally in Phoenix, Arizona yesterday? Yours Truly could not make out anything from that Trumpian word salad. Did Mr. Trump say anything of real substance? A re-election campaign rally now? Way too soon. Based on the fall out from his tone deaf response to Charlottesville and prior acts over the past several months, Mr. Trump may not last until 2020. To make matters worse, speaking at a Las Vegas convention for war veterans today, Mr. Trump invoked the National Anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance, which rang hollow in the face of his support for American Nazis. During his babble on he touched on all the usual themes that get the faithful all hot and bothered. Perhaps the most glaring part of this 70 minute rant and rave was the reiteration of his response to Charlottesville. Specifically, the omission of the phrase violence on both sides. Like no one would notice. Reporters and the Internet did notice. By the way, blaming the media and Republicans for your failings is not working anymore. The late President Harry S. Truman famously said The buck stops here. This was a plaque, attached to his desk, indicating that final responsibility for all the successes and failures lies with him. Shall we now turn to Tanvi Misra's CityLab article "The DOJ's Perverse Response to Chicago's Sanctuary City Lawsuit?"
Today we are returning to the subject of sanctuary cities. Specifically, we are going to take a look at how the Department of Justice is responding to the city of Chicago's sanctuary city lawsuit. On Monday, August 6, 2017, the Mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanuel, flanked by the Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson and Representative Danny Davis, announced it was filing a lawsuit against the Trump administration, claiming new requirements to receive federal funds are unconstitutional. (http://www.chicago.suntimes.com; Aug. 6, 2017; date accessed Aug. 23, 2017). At the press conference, Mayor Emanuel announced, Chicago will not be blackmailed into changing our values.
The Department of Justice responded by shaming the mayor (trying to shame Mayor Emanuel is like running with scissors) by laying blame on the city's ongoing crime problems on its sanctuary policies, which separate local law enforcement from federal immigration enforcement. In a statement to the Chicago Sun Times, DOJ spokesperson Sarah Isgur Flores had typical Trumpian response:
In 2016, more Chicagoans were murdered than in New York City and Los Angeles combined. So it's especially tragic that the mayor is less concerned with that staggering figure than he is spending time and taxpayer money protecting criminal aliens and putting Chicago's law enforcement at greater risk. (Ibid)
Not satisfied with that, the DOJ responded further by hollowing about the culture of lawlessness in the city. (Ibid). Ms Misra writes, "This response sidesteps the legal arguments in the lawsuit, instead perpetuating a widely debunked link between sanctuary cities and crime." Typical Trump administration, alternative facts. Also typical of this administration is continuing to blame cities and communities of color for problems that were not of their making-"and suggests solutions that would only worsen those problems." Sounds like the classic definition of insanity, keep doing the same thing over again, expecting different results.
Let us have a look at all the accusations the DOJ is hurling at Mayor Emanuel.
Claim 1: "The mayor is spending taxpayer money protecting criminal aliens"
No, he does not. This eyepopper blurs the actual function of what a sanctuary city actually does and does not do. A quick review: sanctuary cities do not really protect criminal aliens. On the contrary, they frequently work with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to deport violent criminals. In fact, many local law enforcement agencies will allow ICE access to their databases (http://www.npr.org; May 12, 2017; date accessed Aug. 23, 2017), even when it can present a liability (http://www.chicagotribue.com; May 2, 2017; date accessed Aug. 23, 2017) "because these local gang databases are overly road and riddled with inaccuracies." (http://www.citylab.com; Feb. 17, 2017; date accessed Aug. 23, 2017).
What these jurisdiction do is limit their local law enforcement from doing activities outside their purview and force them to function in the same capacities as federal immigration agents. Included in this is: gathering data about immigration status at routine traffic stops, allowing ICE agents into the their jails, and handling ICE requests (detainers) to hold immigrant suspects for longer than the legal limit (about 48 hours) in jail.
Tanvi Misra observes, "Opting into these agreements with ICE can be costly. Several court rulings have already reinforced some these policies." Other rulings have curtailed previous laws, like Arizona's heinous S.B. 1070, which require local law enforcement to do immigration status checks in the field. (http://www.latimes; Sept. 15, 2016; date accessed Aug. 23, 2017). Others (http://www.citylab.com; Oct. 7, 2017; date accessed Aug. 23, 2017), including a recent one in Massachusetts (http://www.washingtonexaminer.com; today; date accessed Aug. 23, 2017), question the legality of detainers, which have frequently targeted permenant residents and American citizens (http://www.trac.syr.edu; date accessed Aug. 23, 2017).
Claim 2: "The mayor is putting Chicago's law enforcement at greater risk"
Once again, we have a Trumpian disregard for actual facts because there is no evidence to suggest that sanctuary policies result in more crime. Au contraire, police officers argues "that harsh local enforcement makes crime worse by eroding the trust from the community necessary for policing." (http://www.citylab.com; May 29, 2017; date accessed Aug. 23, 2017)
A recent study, The Policies of Refuge: Sanctuary Cities, Crime,and Undocumented Immigration dated October 16, 2016 (http://www.collingwoodresearch.com; date accessed Aug. 23, 2017) researchers at the University of California Riverside compared crime rates before and after cities enacted sanctuary policies; correlating crimes in these jurisdictions to similar ones in non-sanctuary cities. The researchers concluded there was no statistically discernible difference, and sanctuary policies have no effect on crime rates, despite narratives to the contrary
Tom Wong (http://www.tomongphd.com; date access Aug. 23, 2017) an associate professor of political science at the University of California San Diego, argued in a study published by the Centerfor American progress that "sanctuary cities were actually safer and more economically viable places to live." (http://www.citylab.com; Jan. 26, 2017; date accessed Aug. 23, 2017). The logic being: "If immigrant communities the police, they're more likely to report crime, help the police find criminals, and participate in the local economy-research back that up." (Ibid)
Basically, the DOJ is actually recommending that cities put themselves and their residents at risk for a monster under the bed that does not exist. Ms. Misra reports, "In fact, by threatening to the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant grant (http://www.bja.gov; date accessed Aug. 23, 2017) that help train and equip police, the person likely putting law enforcement at greater risk is Jeff Sessions himself." Yes.
Claim 3: "The mayor is less concerned with the city's murder rate than its sanctuary status"
As previously stated, "many law enforcement officials oppose sanctuary city policies because they make policing harder." However, civic officials are quite capable of multi-tasking; Mayor Rahm Emanuel; has made his serious concern over his city's murder rate known.
Truth be told, the crime rate in Chicago is going up (http://www.citylab.com; Sept. 20, 2016; date accessed Aug. 23, 2017). Yes, it did experience more homicides than New York and Los Angeles in 2016, even though both cities have larger populations. However, a recent report, Crime In 2016: A Preliminary Analysis published by the Brennan Center for Justice (http://www.brennancenter.org; date accessed Aug. 23, 2017) points out, "crime has been this bad and far worse over the last 20 years in Chicago."
Thus, any real explanation of crime in Chicago has to account the city's history of ghettoization, economic neglect, and police violence (http://www.medium.com; July 19, 2017; date accessed Aug. 23, 2017) which isolated certain communities and forced them to carry the burden of crime and punishment. Additionally, federal gun policy aides illegally trafficked guns from states, like Indiana (did you hear that VPOTUS) which has weaker gun laws (http://www.thetrace.org; Nov. 2, 2015; date accessed Aug. 23, 2017).
Mayor Rahm Emanuel has not figured out the solution to Chicago's crime problem. While his methods can be criticized, he did enact one strategy (http://www.chicagotribue.com; Sept. 22, 2016; date accessed Aug. 23, 2017). Mayor Emanuel told Mr. Trump earlier this year,
We have repeated;y made specific requests of the administration for greater law enforcement integration and resouces; a higher priority placed on federal gun prosecutions; and funds restored toward mentoring and after-school and summer jobs program that have proven alternatives for our young people...
Because this is so important, I'll always be ready with this list when the President asks.
Sorry Mayor Emanuel, the president is not asking for this list.