Cheap Seats 2017
Supremacy - 04/12
By Rich Trzupek
Like many of my fellow Catholics, and lots of other God-fearing people, I believe that abortion is murder. However, I live in a nation where the Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that abortion is a constitutionally-protected right. Therefore, absent an amendment to the Constitution, no state, no city or any other unit of government can pass a law making abortion illegal. No state, no city or any other unit of government can use their law-enforcement resources to deny a woman access to abortion services.
Liberals are quick to condemn any efforts to make access to abortion services even slightly more difficult. They do so on the basis that abortion is the law of the land and federal laws trump state laws. They are correct of course. Article VI, Clause 2 of the Constitution, known as the “supremacy clause” establishes the primacy of the federal government. It reads as follows:
This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing [sic] in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.
The supremacy clause was the key to overcoming what critics of the Articles of Confederation believed was among the Articles key weaknesses: the lack of strong central authority. States can pass their own laws and run their own programs of course, so long as those laws and activities are not in conflict with federal law.
The so-called “sanctuary movement” is in direct conflict with Article VI, Clause 2 of the Constitution. The cities and states who embrace the sanctuary movement are playing with fire. When cities and states start to pick and choose which federal laws they will enforce and which they will not, they encourage anarchy. Period.
When local law enforcement arrests someone suspected of a crime and found to be here illegally, they are required to notify the federal government at least 48 hours before releasing such a person from custody. The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement service, colloquially known as “ICE” may then issue a “detainer”, asking local law enforcement to hold an individual in custody for up to 48 hours so that the Department of Homeland Security (of which ICE is a part) has the opportunity to take custody of the individual and deport him or her if DHS so chooses.
Those who support the sanctuary movement believe that DHS and ICE do not have the right to require local law enforcement to honor a detainer. Many maintain that a federal warrant is necessary before a suspect can be detained.
DHS disagrees now and disagreed during the previous administration. This statement appears on the ICE web-site:
DHS has not retreated from its position that detainers serve as a legally-authorized request, upon which a law enforcement agency may rely, to continue to maintain custody of the alien for up to 48 hours so that ICE may assume custody for removal purposes.
The argument is sometimes made that sanctuary cities are safer than non-sanctuary cities. This isn’t actually true and also makes no sense. Some sanctuary cities have less crime than some non-sanctuary cities. Some, like Chicago, have more crime. In either case, the concept that releasing suspected criminals in the country illegally makes a city safer is preposterous.
Every week ICE issues its “Declined Detainer Outcome Report”, which you can find here: https://www.ice.gov/ declined-detainer-outcome-report. They make for fascinating reading. Every week dozens of people here illegally and arrested for crimes like assault, sexual assault, burglary, domestic violence, etc. are released on bail rather than getting booted out the door. Most are from Mexico, but many are from other countries in Central America, South America, Africa and Europe.
Are all of these illegals guilty of the crimes of which they are accused? Surely not, but it doesn’t matter. They’re here illegally and – by Federal Law – DHS gets to make the call on whether or not they represent a threat and should be deported, not cities, not states.
That fact may not be pleasant to people running cities like San Francisco or Chicago, any more than the fact that abortion is legal is not pleasant to me, but it’s the law and when we chose to pay attention to only those laws we approve of, chaos is sure to follow.