Alabama joins 11-state coalition in legal fight against sanctuary cities

Steve Marshall

A coalition of 11 states, including Alabama, is urging a federal appeals court to enforce President Donald Trump‘s executive order that punishes sanctuary cities that prohibit cooperation between local law enforcement and federal immigration officials.

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall made the announcement on Friday that Alabama joined in a friend-of-the-court brief on December 22 urging the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to overturn a lower court ruling and to enforce President Trump’s executive order opposing sanctuary cities.

The brief argues the establishment of sanctuary cities would undermine the President’s immigration enforcement authority, an area where the Constitution gives him and Congress considerable power. The brief supports President’ Trump’s position in an appeal of the cases City and County of San Francisco v. Donald Trump and County of Santa Clara v. Donald Trump.  

“This is fundamentally a matter of public safety, in which we are asking the Court to uphold the right of Alabama and other states to fight practices that defy the rule of law and hinder the ability of law enforcement to effectively protect the public,” said Marshall.

“If local entities are allowed to interfere with the enforcement of federal immigration laws, then criminal illegal immigrants may take refuge and endanger the surrounding communities. The State of Alabama supports the President’s executive order because we believe that individual states should have the right to prohibit sanctuary cities and effectively protect our citizens.”

Sanctuary jurisdictions — cities and localities that prohibit or otherwise obstruct cooperation between federal and local officials on immigration enforcement — defy the rule of law and deprive law enforcement of the tools necessary for effective civil and criminal enforcement, the attorneys general assert. Upholding federal immigration laws will provide law enforcement in Alabama and other states with additional and necessary tools to identify drug offenders who enter the country unlawfully.

The executive order directs the U.S. Attorney General and the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security to ensure that sanctuary cities, to the extent permitted by law, may not receive grant dollars from specific federal programs. The order encourages states to comply with existing federal law that promotes voluntary cooperation between federal and state officials.

Alabama joined the West Virginia and Louisiana-led brief with Arkansas, Florida, Kansas, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas. You may access a copy of the brief through this link.