Washington Governor Jay Inslee is making a big deal about resisting Donald Trump’s enforcement of immigration laws.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) on Thursday signed an executive order blocking state law enforcement agencies from detaining undocumented immigrants at the request of federal officials, days after the Trump administration began ramping up immigration enforcement actions.
Inslee’s order prevents state agencies from discriminating against or refusing service to those in the country illegally. It also blocks those agencies from spending state resources to create or enforce a registry of citizens on the basis of religious affiliation.
The order blocks the Washington State Patrol and the state Department of Corrections from detaining anyone solely on the basis of immigration status.
Read that last paragraph again slowly. Move your lips if you have to.
Over the weekend I posted on sanctuary cities scrambling to ditch that moniker in light of Trump’s directive that the federal government, to the extent allowable by law, sever grantor-grantee relationships with any jurisdiction with will not cooperate with US Immigration officials. I talked about the cheap grace of claiming to be a sanctuary city so long as nothing was on the line but caving in immediately once federal funds were jeopardized.
Now let’s go back to that last paragraph. What Inslee is doing is forbidding Washington State law enforcement from detaining people based on circumstances that simply won’t occur. Immigration detainers are issued, in the overwhelming majority of cases, when someone has been arrested for other reasons. The only people who engage in primary immigration enforcement are federal employees and ever since Arizona vs. United States it is quite possibly unconstitutional for a state law enforcement official to detain a person based solely on immigration status.
What Inslee is doing is grandstanding. He’s forbidden state officials to do something they legally can’t do. He’s allowing them to do what they can do, which is detain persons under arrest on immigration violations, he’s keeping the federal money pipeline open, and he’s bashing Trump all at the same time.