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Immigration Law Expert: Sanctuary City Policies Hurt Exactly Who Democrats Say They Help

By  James Barrett

In a new report published by The Hill, immigration law expert Nolan Rappaport provides a narrative-busting reality check for California’s Democratic leaders who continue to support law-bending and breaking “sanctuary” policies: They hurt the illegal immigrants politicians and activists claim they help.

Rappaport begins by giving a summary of the Trump administration’s escalating battle with California over the state’s increasingly aggressive sanctuary policies, particularly three of California’s sanctuary laws, which the administration contends deliberately attempt to obstruct the enforcement of federal immigration law.

California’s S.B. 54, Rappaport explains, not only restricts the sharing of information on immigrants with federal authorities, it “prohibits the transfer of criminal aliens to federal custody.” A.B. 60 “requires the department to issue an original driver license to an applicant who is unable to submit satisfactory proof of legal presence” in the U.S. but can provide proof of residency. “More than a million immigrants in the country illegally have received a California driver’s license,” Rappaport notes.

But is California really helping illegal immigrants with its illegal immigrant-welcoming, ICE-thwarting sanctuary policies? Rappaport says no. In fact, its policies are hurting undocumented immigrants, who are being regularly “exploited by unscrupulous employers” and being detained at higher levels due to ICE being forced to change how it rounds up criminal illegal aliens.

Rappaport cites a recent report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) on California’s illegal immigrant labor laws which found that they have encouraged widespread exploitation of immigrants. “According to EPI, fear of being reported to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) gives employers extraordinary power to take advantage of unauthorized immigrant employees.” Rappaport provides a summary of the seven laws California has been forced to enact to try to protect illegal immigrant workers from such exploitation:

  • A.B. 263 prohibited employers from using immigration-related threats to retaliate against employees who have exercise their labor rights;
  • S.B. 666 made it easier for immigrant workers to sue employers who retaliate against them for exercising their workplace rights;
  • A.B. 524 expanded the definition of “criminal extortion” to include threats related to immigration status;
  • A.B. 2571 modified A.B. 263 to permit the $10,000 civil penalty for retaliation to be awarded to the employee instead of to the state of California;
  • S.B. 1001 and A.B. 622 made it more difficult for employers to use the employment authorization process to retaliate against unauthorized immigrant workers; and
  • A.B. 450 discouraged employers from using the I-9 process for verifying the identity and employment eligibility of their employees to retaliate against undocumented immigrant workers.

Clearly, the problem is rampant enough that California has had to take extreme measures to try to tamp it down.

And California’s sanctuary laws that are designed to shield criminal illegal immigrants from the feds are actually leading to more arrests. Rappaport explains (formatting adjusted):

Sanctuary policies prevent local police departments from turning inmates over to ICE when they are released from custody, which has resulted in returning some dangerous criminal immigrants to the community.

ICE had to change its enforcement operations from taking custody of immigrants at police stations to looking for undocumented immigrants in the community, which resulted in arresting approximately 40,000 noncriminal immigrants in fiscal 2017.

Rappaport explains that the main obstacle in deporting illegal immigrants is the massive backlog of cases, which grew by some 20% from 2017 to 2018, resulting in average wait times of almost two years. That long backlog often requires authorities to release dangerous criminal aliens on the street, at which point they disappear.

“Apparently, the main beneficiaries of California’s sanctuary policies are deportable immigrants in police custody who otherwise would be turned over to ICE when they are released and unscrupulous employers who exploit undocumented immigrant workers,” Rappaport concludes.

H/T Jazz Shaw

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