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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

After judge blocks Trump's 'sanctuary' order, Jeff Landry joins state AGs to back it

Posted By on Wed, Dec 27, 2017 at 5:32 PM

click to enlarge Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry. - PHOTO BY GAGE SKIDMORE/CREATIVE COMMONS
  • Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry.

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry joined 10 other state attorneys general in pressing a federal appeals court to side with President Donald Trump's order against so-called "sanctuary" cities, a move that was declared unconstitutional by a federal judge last month.

Trump's January order took aim at places with "sanctuary" policies protecting undocumented residents and made them ineligible for certain federal funds, but a November ruling from U.S. District Judge William H. Orrick found that Trump's order for local governments to enforce federal immigration laws violated the separation of powers doctrine and Fifth and Tenth amendments.

In a brief filed this month with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit,
Landry and attorneys general from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Kansas, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and West Virginia want the courts to overturn the ruling.

“Sanctuary cities undermine the rule of law and rob our law enforcement officers of the tools they need to effectively protect our communities,” Landry said in a statement. “We have seen too many crimes occur against our own State’s citizens due to sanctuary city policies; which is why I have been actively fighting back against these policies since taking office.”

Numerous studies have debunked the link between undocumented immigrants and high crime rates. Landry frequently has pointed to an August 2016 incident in LaPlace — in which a Honduran immigrant living in the country without legal permission killed a fire chief and another man in a car accident — to reinforce his argument for tougher immigration enforcement in New Orleans, where Landry says local cops are prevented from communicating with federal immigration authorities, (The Honduran driver lived in Jefferson Parish.)

Landry repeatedly has criticized New Orleans police and Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who recently met with U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and U.S. Sen. John Neely Kennedy to iron out the city's policies. "We are pleased that the Attorney General and Senator Kennedy have come around to agreeing with the point we have made all along," Landrieu said in a statement last month. "New Orleans is not a 'sanctuary city' and the NOPD’s policies have maintained consistent compliance [with the law]."
Landry also butted heads with state lawmakers — earlier this year, Landry failed to get support for a bill that would strip certain funds from "sanctuary" cities and parishes, even though lawmakers agreed Louisiana doesn't have any. That bill died in committee.

According to Pew Research Center, roughly 30,000 people were living in the New Orleans metro area without legal permission as of 2014. Following Trump's executive orders emboldening immigration authorities, cities around the U.S. have reported stronger Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) presence and an end to "prioritized" deportations that previously only targeted people with criminal records beyond immigration violations.

An August report in The Advocate found that the local ICE office, which covers Louisiana as well as Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee, had deported 6,665 undocumented immigrants through the first three-quarters of the current fiscal year, "more than the total of the previous three years combined."

“As I have said before, the President and Congress are given the power to enforce the President’s Executive Order while still being considerate of State’s rights,” Landry said in a statement. “This issue is a common sense issue, aimed strictly at protecting our citizens.”

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