"There is a big difference between a state or locality saying they are not going to use their resources to enforce a federal law, as so-called sanctuary cities have done, and a state passing its own immigration policy that actively interferes with federal law," Tracy Schmaler, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., told The Washington Times. "That's what Arizona did in this case."
However Schmaler was very clever, and Ace missed the important disdiction between what sanctuary cities acutally do. Sanctuary cities don't just do nothing, but actively assist illegal aliens. And unforetuneately so does Lamar Smith, who wrote the prohibition on sanctuary cities.
But the author of the 1996 federal law that requires states and localities to cooperate with federal authorities on immigration laws thinks the administration is misreading the statute and that sanctuary cities are in violation of federal law. Drawing a distinction between those localities and Arizona, he said, is "flimsy justification" for suing the state.
"For the Justice Department to suggest that they won't take action against those who passively violate the law who fail to comply with the law is absurd," said Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, the ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee and chief author of the 1996 immigration law. "Will they ignore individuals who fail to pay taxes? Will they ignore banking laws that require disclosure of transactions over $10,000? Of course not."
The several States do have the option to not enforce federal law. That is actually in the Constitution and supported by conservatives. The Printz case invalidated part of the Brady gun confiscation law that forced local law enforcement to enforce federal gun bans. The Supreme Court stated that the States may not be forced to enforce Federal law unless it is based on States accepting funding from the Federal government.
But what we have here is the States just not enforcing Federal law, and there is no Federal requirement based on the receipt of funds from the Federal government, then there is no authority to force the States to act. States may ignore Federal immigration law, but they may also not violate Federal law. In the case of sanctuary cities, they do not just ignore Federal law, they actively violate Federal law by aiding, abetting and assisting aliens to remain in the United States by providing identification, monies, welfare, housing, and extensive health care. New Haven, San Francisco, Utah, New Mexico, and other cities and States provide special identification cards to illegal aliens. San Francisco has a special health care system for illegal aliens. Other cities refuse to arrest illegal aliens in violation of the 14th Amendment, treating persons differently based on national origin; such as San Francisco, who will give illegal aliens detained for driving without a license a chance to not be arrested, but Americans and legal aliens are arrested and jailed without any chance to find someone to come assist them.
Actions like these are not passive refusal to enforce Federal law, but specific policies and legislation to assist aliens to remain in the U.S. in violation of Federal law:
§ 1324. Bringing in and harboring certain aliensHow Current is This?(a) Criminal penalties(1)(A) Any person who—(i) knowing that a person is an alien, brings to or attempts to bring to the United States in any manner whatsoever such person at a place other than a designated port of entry or place other than as designated by the Commissioner, regardless of whether such alien has received prior official authorization to come to, enter, or reside in the United States and regardless of any future official action which may be taken with respect to such alien;(ii) knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that an alien has come to, entered, or remains in the United States in violation of law, transports, or moves or attempts to transport or move such alien within the United States by means of transportation or otherwise, in furtherance of such violation of law;(iii) knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that an alien has come to, entered, or remains in the United States in violation of law, conceals, harbors, or shields from detection, or attempts to conceal, harbor, or shield from detection, such alien in any place, including any building or any means of transportation;(iv) encourages or induces an alien to come to, enter, or reside in the United States, knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that such coming to, entry, or residence is or will be in violation of law;
What we have here is a lawless Department of Justice, unwilling to enforce federal law and openly lying about what sanctuary cities are doing. They are not passive, but actively violating Federal law, for which they should be prosecuted.