President Donald Trump’s executive order directing federal agencies to take away funding from self-proclaimed sanctuary cities had one big exemption for one of his favorite constituencies: the police, who would be protected from cuts.
But Trump’s opponents say that very exemption makes it much more likely that a judge could strike down that section of the order as unconstitutional.
It is just one example of the legal arguments that cities, immigration groups and other opponents are readying as they prepare to fight an executive order signed by Trump on Wednesday that would cut federal aid to “sanctuary” jurisdictions that limit cooperation with federal immigration authorities.
Kate M. Manuel
Acting Section Research Manager
The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) provides that individual aliens outside the United States are “inadmissible”–or barred from admission to the country–on health, criminal, security, and other grounds set forth in the INA. However, the INA also grants the Executive several broader authorities that could be used to exclude certain individual aliens or classes of aliens for reasons that are not specifically prescribed in the INA.
Section 212(f) of the INA is arguably the broadest and best known of these authorities. It provides, in relevant part, that
Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.
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BY DEBRA CASSENS WEISS
President Donald Trump said in a tweet on Tuesday that he will “send in the feds” if Chicago “doesn’t fix the horrible ‘carnage’ going on.”
Trump didn’t specify how he intended to help Chicago combat violence in the city, but one obstacle could be the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878. The law bars the deployment of federal troops in law enforcement, the Chicago Tribune and the Associated Press report.
The law was passed amid suspicion that federal troops had influenced the southern vote in the 1876 election, according to an article published last spring in the Nevada Law Journal (PDF).
BY DEBRA CASSENS WEISS
Updated: President Trump’s plan to build a wall along the Mexican border could hit an obstacle if he relies on a 2006 law for funding authority.
The obstacle is a June 2015 majority opinion by Justice Antonin Scalia that said the Environmental Protection Agency did not properly consider the costs when it decided to limit mercury emissions from power plants, according to a New York Times op-ed by three University of Chicago law professors.
At issue was a Clean Air Act provision that required EPA regulation of hazardous emissions from power plants when “appropriate and necessary.” Scalia said that phrase required the EPA to consider costs. “No regulation is ‘appropriate’ if it does significantly more harm than good,” he wrote.
Trump’s executive order, signed on Wednesday, calls for immediate construction of the wall. But he needs funds to build it, and Mexico has said it won’t pay. If Trump asks Congress to pass a new law, Senate Democrats could mount a filibuster. His executive order cites the Secure Fence Act of 2006, according to this story in the Atlantic, and he may be relying on it for funding authority, according to the op-ed.
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