Abraham Lincoln gave the following example of common sense: “When you have got an elephant by the hind legs and he is trying to run away, it’s best to let him run,” and Voltaire is noted for having pointed out that nothing is so uncommon as common sense.
Proof of the theorem may be found in a document released by Governor Malloy more than a year ago that explains in some detail – but not nearly enough detail – when cops do not have to enforce Federal immigration law. The document, circulated “to school superintendents and police chiefs outlining suggested protocols on how to help these jurisdictions make decisions on enforcing President Trump's executive order on immigration,” was summarized in Bridgeport’s Daily Voice.
The following are “recommendations by Malloy, the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, the Department of Correction, and the State Department of Education.” The chief problem with the “recommendations” is that they are recommendations only, and one may, should one choose, flip off a recommendation with the same disdain deployed by Malloy when, in service to illegal aliens huddled in one or another of Connecticut’s sanctuary cities, he chooses not to abide by federal laws – which are not recommendations. They are laws, usually accompanied by sanctions.
Here are the recommendations as reported by the Daily Voice. Each of the recommendations is attended by messy unintended consequences.
1) “Local law enforcement should not take action that is solely to enforce federal immigration law. The federal government cannot mandate states to investigate and enforce actions that have no nexus to the enforcement of Connecticut law or local ordinances.” Problem: In some cases, there will be a nexus; as, for example, when the illegal immigrant has broken a state law. In such cases, who decides whether or not to report the person illegally present in the United States to ICE? Is that a decision left to the discretion of the local cop? If the cop makes the wrong decision, what sanctions may be brought to bear against him by the state? Very likely none, since he or she is acting under a recommendation rather than a gubernatorial order or, better still, a law.
2) “ICE detainer requests are requests, they are not warrants or orders and this should only be honored as set forth in Connecticut law, unless accompanied by a judicial warrant.” Problem: It goes without saying that the federal government should not request police officials in Connecticut to act contrary to their own laws. It used to go without saying that police officials in Connecticut should accept requests from federal agents to detain persons suspected of having broken federal law. Such federal/state cooperation has been reinvented by Malloy and others in Connecticut because they wish to create havens – sanctuary cities – for federal lawbreakers. This is more than impolite disdain; it is defiance of federal law by agents of the state, mostly progressives, who have in the past insisted that federal law supersedes state law – not to mention gubernatorial recommendations.
“If an ICE agent approaches a school asking for student information or for access to a student, that agent should be referred to the Superintendent’s Office or to the office of an appropriate administrator designated by the Superintendent.” Problem: And if the Superintendent or appropriate administrator does agree to allow the questioning of a possible lawbreaker in a sanctuary city, will he be sanctioned, since he or she may be in violation of the governor’s recommendations? What is the proper sanction for disregarding a gubernatorial recommendation?
“Ultimately,” the Daily Voice points out, “local law enforcement agencies determine whether, and to what extent within the parameters of the Connecticut Trust Act, they assist the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) federal agency." Problem; this is the very definition of nullification which, in US history, has never had a happy ending. The Civil War was war prosecuted against slave owing nullifiers. When Governor George Wallace in 1963 attempted to block African American kids from entering a high school in Little Rock, President Dwight Eisenhower sent national troops to the state to clear the way and enforce national law. President Kennedy nationalized the Alabama National Guard to remove Wallace from a doorway he had blocked to allow African Americans to register at the University of Alabama.
All this is problematic; if a state may in one instance refuse to abide by a federal law, why may it not in all instances refuse to abide by federal laws? It is insurrectionary. It cuts against the grain of common sense, which ordinarily holds that the chief executives of states should not, anymore than common criminals, be permitted to decide which laws they will obey. In essence, governors are criminalized and their poisonous recommendations affect law enforcement agencies.
Then too, the federal government is not without sanctions. Indeed, a law without sanctions is like a tiger without teeth. Malloy and his Attorney General, George Jepsen, who is retiring from office, are quite certain that, if federal sanctions are applied, courts will rule in favor of the nullifiers. Abe Lincoln, throbbing with common sense, very likely would not agree. In fact, he did not agree with the nullifiers of his day and waged a brutal Civil War to secure his point, proving his common sense axiom, “When you have got an elephant by the hind legs and he is trying to run away, it’s best to let him run.”