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The Trump Administration is at least temporarily walking back its decision to weekly publish a list of cities and counties it deems too friendly to immigrants. The administration had only gotten around to publishing, it seems, two reports, but said that it would stop after an outcry over misleading and false information in the documents.
It’s unclear what changes the Trump Administration could make to improve the reports, since currently, their whole premise is inconsistent with federal law. Purportedly, Trump is trying to call out and bully cities and localities where local law enforcement won’t hold undocumented immigrants for ICE to pick up for deportation. But federal judges have held that localities cannot hold immigrants if they have committed no crime.
Advocates, legal experts, and law enforcement officials have spent weeks trying to point out the incoherence behind Trump’s vitriol for immigrant-friendly localities. The Fraternal Order of Police, one of Trump’s biggest supporters in the election, has signaled that it’s not behind the president when it comes to the targeting of these cities and counties. The Sheriff of Sioux County, Iowa, where 81% of voters went for Trump, was recently and extensively quoted trying to explain that what the Trump Administration doesn’t understand is “just because somebody is in our country and they’re illegal, we can’t just arrest them.”
And last week, a Florida Sheriff — whose county narrowly went for Trump — published a Tampa Bay op-ed on why law enforcement officials stand against Trump on immigrant-friendly localities:
While the illegal immigration debate is complex and emotional, I swore to follow the law, even when it’s inconvenient. The federal government also must follow the law even when it’s inconvenient, and it is wrong for the federal government to ask sheriffs to ignore the U.S. Constitution and the law that we are sworn to uphold by illegally keeping people in our jails.
The Trump Administration has already had to apologize to multiple counties for including them in the weekly reports, since those counties were correctly following legal procedure. Before it tries to bully immigrants and the cities that stand up for them again, the administration should review the laws that protect them.