Assuming he is confirmed as attorney general, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Al), a longtime advocate of cutting federal spending, will have to help decide how much money can be spent on President-elect Trump’s promise to increase deportations sharply. It could cost tens of billions of dollars.
Despite complaints about privately-run detention facilities, a review panel says the federal government must keep using them because of cost factors and “dramatic surges in detention.” Most of the panel signed a dissent saying evidence “points directly toward the inferiority of the private prison model.”
In Denver, most cases go on for more than five years. Courts have too few judges and must cope with an antiquated paper file system. “The system has been failing, but now it is reaching a tipping point,” says Benjamin Johnson of the National Immigration Lawyers Association.
President-elect Trump is warning cities their federal funds may be cut off if they don’t detain immigrant criminals for deportation, but courts say they may be violating people’s civil rights by detaining them without a court order.
The president-elect first said he would try to deport all 11 million in the U.S. illegally. Now, Trump is focusing on those with criminal records. Only 690,000 were convicted of felonies or serious misdemeanors, and President Obama already has been deporting people in that category.
The president-elect has vowed to cut off federal aid from cities that don’t cooperate with federal immigration agencies. Will he go further by challenging local policies in court or prosecuting city leaders? Mayor Libby Schaaf of Oakland compares her city’s stance to “conscientious objector status.”
The tools are already in place to fulfill President-elect Trump’s pledge to begin a mass deportation of what he terms “criminal aliens.” Local law enforcement agencies can take the lead, and local governments have plenty of incentive to put those tools to use.
As Attorney General, Congress’ leading advocate for cracking down on legal immigration could wield wide-ranging power to change U.S. policies. The Associated Press explains how Jeff Sessions could do it.
Scores of cities have declared that they will not participate in enforcement of immigration policies espoused by President-elect Trump. They include New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Denver and Seattle, among many others.