Rep. Luis Gutierrez, Democrat from Illinois, has gone the proverbial off the reservation — out to lunch, into the Twilight Zone, off his rocker, what have you — in a Wednesday morning CNN “New Day” defense of sanctuary cities.
He calls them Fourth Amendment cities. And he’s mad as hell that President Donald Trump’s administration is trying to strip them of their money, unless they agree to abide federal immigration policy and lose the sanctuary status.
You can’t do that, argues Gutierrez. Why not? Because the people, as the Fourth Amendment states, have a right to be secure in their persons and homes and safe from unreasonable government searches and seizures. And that, in his mind, means the feds — the Trump White House and the Jeff Sessions Justice Department, in particular — have no right to just simply strip away the cities’ funding, regardless of whether they stay places of sanctuary or not.
Here’s his logic, with due warning: there are a few twists and turns.
“Here’s how I see it — yeah, they call them sanctuary cities,” Gutierrez said to host Chris Cuomo. “What I would say, Chris, is they’re Fourth Amendment cities.”
So when, say, Chicago authorities refuse to release illegals into the custody of federal immigration agents, those city folk, in Gutierrez’s mind, are actually obeying the Constitution and upholding the constitutional rights of the illegals. More to point: the Fourth Amendment rights of the illegals.
His logic seems to be that the feds have no right to pull funding for sanctuary cities if they’re not first going to issue warrants for each and every illegal in the city — in accordance with Fourth Amendment protections. I suppose that means naming, with specificity, the persons and things to be searched.
“The DEA, the FBI, the ATF, they get warrants, right? They go and pick people up,” Gutierrez said, The Hill reported. “What [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] — which is another federal law enforcement agency — does is it wants to have people detained and wants the city of Chicago to go after people without any probable cause being submitted before the court and without a warrant.”
He also said that if the feds “supply a warrant to the city of Chicago, we will absolutely honor that warrant. But you’ve got to get a warrant.”
Umm … but aren’t ICE agents already tasked with detaining and processing illegals? Isn’t that, oh, I don’t know, their job?
By Gutierrez logic, police officers wouldn’t have the ability to detain or arrest criminal suspects until they served them with warrants. So an officer, say, witnessing an armed robber robbing a store could not take action and arrest that said robber without first bolting to the local court house and getting an arrest warrant. Hopefully, the magistrate’s not on lunch.
Hopefully, too, nobody raises point two of Gutierrez logic, which would seem to be: Hey, the guy’s a suspect, not a convict, so his crime is alleged — and that would mean any police seizure of his person is unreasonable. It’s the Fourth Amendment, stupid!
Voila. We seem to not only have a get-out-of-jail-free card. We now have a get-out-of-arrest-free card.
But Gutierrez isn’t really trying to pave the legal way for feds to detain illegals. He’s trying to throw smoke and mirrors into the debate so the left will rally behind the Fourth Amendment call and stymie Trump’s try of stripping sanctuary cities of money.
He’s trying to thwart the White House and keep both sanctuary city and funding.
But what can you expect from a partisan — a highly charged, highly progressive, highly emotional anti-Trump partisan, at that?
Gutierrez just said during this week’s congressional discussion of sanctuary cities that any attempt to rein in these communities and strip them of federal funding is nothing but a “demonization.”
And in a past CNN interview, he told host Erin Burnett: “[Trump] looks at them as illegals, right? He uses that term — these aliens. We look at them as people who are in our community, husbands, wives, children, our neighbors, they go to church with us, they are an integral part of our community. So we say to Donald Trump, ‘We’re going to fight you.’”
OK. But maybe using the Fourth Amendment as an argument against cutting federal funding for sanctuary cities is not the brightest way to go. As even one legal mind who disagreed with Trump’s order barring travelers from mostly Muslim nations from entering U.S. soil said: Non-citizens aren’t entitled to all the Constitution has to offer.
“When you’re standing at JFK, you stand outside the borders until you are inspected and admitted,” said Jennifer Gordon, a professor of immigration law at Fordham University Law School, in a recent Forbes article.
As Gordon also made clear, the federal government has broad authority to enforce the nation’s borders. And that means Gutierrez’s argument, while earning an “A” for creativity, nonetheless dies a flaming failure for its adherence to law. No, Mr. Gutierrez, the Fourth Amendment does not stipulate the federal government has to use tax dollars to pay for illegals to live in sanctuary cities. Back to the drawing board for you.