I am very sad, heartbroken in fact when I read quotes from people who have taken oaths of office, that they will support the Constitution of the United States of America but seem not to have a basic grasp of what the document actually says. I was reflecting on it this morning as I reread an article from yesterday in the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer about a young undocumented worker arrested for driving without a license after being pulled over for speeding. Without going into the immigration side of this situation, on face value, this is what you would expect when breaking motor vehicle laws regarding no license and in the course of trying to determine your identity get transferred to another agency or state when it comes to light that someone else has a more substantial case against you. This happens all of the time when someone with outstanding warrants in other localities gets arrested. All the Sheriff had to say was we did x,y,z in accordance with the procedures we follow and after establishing his identity as an undocumented immigrant we turned him over to Immigration Control. Simple, non-controversial. Unfortunately, the sheriff likes controversy so he makes the statement “And then he continued: “ We’re not a sanctuary county. What can I say?
Unfortunately, the sheriff likes controversy so he makes the statement “And then he continued: “ We’re not a sanctuary county. What can I say? Federal government wants him, they’re gonna get him. He has no constitutional rights. He’s not a U.S. citizen.”
DaFuq did I just read?
Ok, let’s take this one little step at a time. First the United States of America is a government established by the people and receives its power by majority consent of the governed, through the instruments of law that provide the framework of government. Supreme among these instruments is the Constitution of the United States and the subsequent amendments there in. Without the Constitution there is no Federal Government and therefore no immigration law or ICE, if you argue that one part of the Constitution does not apply to a group of you give the grounds to argue that the rest doesn’t either.
Second the parts of the Constitution that impact the interaction between law enforcement and those within the jurisdiction of a law enforcement agency are things like due process, habeous corpus, search and seizure, etc. are not supposed to be ambiguous. We are not supposed to be waving our passports and birth certificate out the car window so that law enforcement obeys the law. Unfortunately for Harris County, the sheriff has made a statement which calls into question at what point do his officers obey the Constitution. Do they only afford you your rights once they have established your citizenship? Or do they stop worrying about the law if they determine you are not a citizen? The family suing over the death of their son a few months ago based on denial of due process can now show this quote as proof that adherence to the Constitution is not a priority of the sheriffs department.