The Austin Chronicle

Trump Budget Wants Congress to Rewrite Federal Immigration Law

But that budget? DOA. (We hope.)

By Michael King, June 2, 2017, News

The proposed Trump administration federal budget – described variously as "dead on arrival" or "dead before arrival" (and that's by Republicans) – has been roundly denounced, as it should be, for cutting basic social safety net programs and undermining public schools, while spiking military spending. But the draft features other Trumpian surprises – for example, buried in an appendix is a provision that would rewrite federal immigration law to tighten the screws on alleged "sanctuary cities." Attorney General Jeff Sessions has grudgingly acknowledged that Immigration and Customs Enforcement "detainer requests" are exactly that, and not binding on local jurisdictions – so the budget asks Congress to rewrite the law to require local law enforcement to comply with any requests issued by ICE, and to enable the Department of Justice to sanction (through funding denials) any jurisdiction that fails to comply with such "requests" (thereby making a mockery of the term itself). The budget language echoes that of Senate Bill 4, the newly enacted Texas law that (in yet another unfunded mandate) would force local jurisdictions to become enforcement extensions of ICE. Mayor Steve Adler commented earlier this week: "Since Austin and Travis County's immigration practices don't break any laws, our state and now the federal government are trying to change the laws so they conform to the rhetoric. Even though I could be removed from office under SB 4 for endorsing a different policy, let me be perfectly clear: I am endorsing a different policy. SB 4 and the budget rider would divide our community and make us less safe, and I'm going to keep opposing policies that our law enforcement professionals tell me would make Austin less safe."

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