We’ve known for quite a while that our friends in San Francisco live in an alternate universe, so it isn’t surprising that the city has decided to sue President Trump and the federal government over Trump’s move to withhold federal funds from so-called sanctuary cities in which illegal aliens are free to roam about without fear of being rounded up by local officials as long as they obey criminal laws other than the ones they already have broken, namely entering the United States illegally and residing here as a non-citizen without documents.
San Francisco has about 30,000 such illegal residents, according to City Attorney Dennis Herrera, who filed an action against Trump in federal court.
One would think San Francisco is standing firm on principal, but wait. While many San Franciscans no doubt sympathize with some aliens they may know, or even some they don’t know, it could be because they can afford the sympathy.
However, if Trump’s order is upheld, as much as $1.2 billion a year in federal funding for services in San Francisco that include housing, health care and services for the homeless might be withdrawn, says The Associated Press.
Without that handout from Uncle Sam, San Franciscans would have to dive into their already well-picked pockets to make up the difference, which might make them a little less likely to want the illegals in their midst.
Also, here’s something they may not know: Harboring illegals is illegal under federal law.
Here is what the federal Immigration and Nationality Act says:
“Any person who … encourages or induces an alien to … reside … knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that such … residence is … in violation of law, shall be punished as provided … for each alien in respect to whom such a violation occurs … fined under title 18 … imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.”
Section 274 felonies under the federal Immigration and Nationality Act, INA 274A(a)(1)(A):
A person (including a group of persons, business, organization, or local government) commits a federal felony when she or he:
assists an alien s/he should reasonably know is illegally in the U.S. or who lacks employment authorization, by transporting, sheltering, or assisting him or her to obtain employment, or
encourages that alien to remain in the U.S. by referring him or her to an employer or by acting as employer or agent for an employer in any way, or
knowingly assists illegal aliens due to personal convictions.
In other words, if the local government makes a decision to assist illegal aliens, or assist those who harbor them, then the local government is guilty of a felony.
Now, from a practical viewpoint, there is little risk in that if the local illegals don’t cause problems. But if they start commiting other crimes, and wind up in prison, the cheese gets more binding.
If a local sheriff decides to continue to shelter the illegal even after that person gets out of prison, then that official is guilty of a crime.
Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims takes no chances, and cooperates with federal officials who want to get criminal illegals out of the country.
You can read her story in our newspaper published on Wednesday, Feb. 1.
The Legislature would like to protect illegals by making it tougher for officers like Mims to cooperate with federal officers. Will the legislators succeed in that? We will see.
Some say the law is too harsh on illegals who get rounded up and sent back home for merely being in the United States without proper papers; but the Congress has had plenty of chances to change the law and has demurred.
All Congress is doing — or was doing up until Trump’s order — was allowing local agencies to take the law into their own hands.
Sounds a little like Congress handled the marijuana laws.