LETTER: Put constitutional rights before party agendas

FILE - In this Jan. 26, 2016, file photo, then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump was joined by Joe Arpaio, the sheriff of metro Phoenix, during a news conference in Marshalltown, Iowa. owing his recent conviction in federal court. Fresh off his presidential pardon, an emboldened Arpaio on Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, lashed out at his critics and the judge who found him guilty of a crime as his attorneys went to court to throw the court decision that was the basis for his conviction. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

Sanctuary Cities legislation in both the federal and state legislatures has made national news. Trump and others falsely claim that cities like Philadelphia refuse to cooperate with ICE in rounding up undocumented immigrants and, as a result, should be denied vital law enforcement federal monies.

All this is based on several false pretenses:

One is that all undocumented immigrants are “bad hombres” and need to be deported. In fact, my husband, a local criminal lawyer, has reported in legislative meetings to state Rep. Kate Klunk and state Rep. Seth Grove that in his 30 years of experience less than 1 percent of the violent criminals he has represented were undocumented immigrants. The FBI has also reported annually on a national scale that undocumented immigrants are less likely to commit violent crimes than U.S. citizens.

Another pretense is that local police refuse to cooperate with ICE when in fact, courts have challenged ICE’s use of detainers (not warrants) as unconstitutional, and complying puts local enforcement at risk for liabilities in civil court.

Police enforcement policies ensure that witnesses and victims of crime must trust that communication with police will not trigger deportation.

And the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution requires local police to reduce racial profiling of not only blacks but people of all colors.

Trump’s pardon of Arizona’s ex-Sheriff Joe Arpaio endorses his racist beliefs by wiping away the conviction of a man who has repeatedly been found by the courts to have racially profiled Latinos in his immigration patrols. This pardon contradicts a key theme in the movement for tougher immigration enforcement: that all people, no matter who they are, aren’t above the law. This latest venture of Trump is expected to cost taxpayers $92 million in a criminal lawsuit.

Republican representatives, we need you to speak out and put constitutional rights before party agendas.


Paradise Township