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Published On: Mon, Jul 17th, 2017

Justin Amash explains ‘No’ vote on Kate’s Law, lists violations of the Constitution

Kate’s Law, the much publicized bill that would increase penalties for deported illegal aliens who sneak back into the United States, passed the House of Representatives with a vote of 257 to 157.

24 Democrats voted yes on this immigration bill, but Michigan Congressman Justin Amash, a libertarian Republican, voted against the party line and now explains his “NO” vote.

“I voted no today on two bills that together violate the 1st, 4th, 5th, 10th, and 11th Amendments. I will always defend our Constitution,” Amash announced in a lengthy Facebook post.

I voted no on #HR3003, No Sanctuary for Criminals Act.

This bill increases the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS’s) detention of suspected illegal aliens, defunds sanctuary cities, and limits the ability of state and local governments to direct their law enforcement resources. In doing so, the bill violates at least five constitutional amendments.

The bill violates the Tenth Amendment by prohibiting any state or locality from doing anything which would restrict the ability of their law enforcement officers to “assist” federal immigration enforcement, giving state and local governments legal immunity for providing such assistance, and limiting transfers of aliens to sanctuary cities for criminal prosecution.

I have voted in the past to defund law enforcement grants to sanctuary cities that prohibit information sharing between their law enforcement and federal immigration officials (including #HR3009 in the 114th Congress), but this bill also prohibits any actions or policies that may restrict local law enforcement’s cooperation with, or assistance to, federal immigration enforcement. This goes far beyond just facilitating the exchange of information that local law enforcement may already come across in the course of their own activities; this bill unconstitutionally enables the federal government to coerce states into helping with actual enforcement of immigration laws. Plus, it gives immunity to states for assisting with immigration enforcement, and it affirmatively punishes states for noncompliance.

Congress has no authority to direct state and local officials in this way. Our Constitution establishes a system of dual federalism. In Congress, the laws we make are to be executed by federal officials; we may not commandeer nonfederal officials.

The bill violates the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition on unreasonable seizures and the Fifth Amendment’s due process requirements by increasing DHS’s use of, and authority for, warrantless arrests and detention of suspected illegal aliens. As their text makes clear, the Fourth and Fifth Amendments apply explicitly to all “people” and “person[s]” within the United States. The Constitution uses the word “citizen” in other provisions whenever that word is intended. This interpretation of the Constitution’s applicability is shared by the U.S. Supreme Court, including among the conservative justices.

The bill violates the Eleventh Amendment—which largely prohibits Congress from unilaterally permitting lawsuits against states—by allowing the victims of crimes committed by an illegal alien to sue a state that declines to fulfill a request from the federal government to detain the alien.

Lastly, the bill violates the First Amendment by likely interfering with the ability of state and local officials and other individuals to make statements regarding immigration enforcement policies and priorities.

I support securing the borders, and I have voted to defund sanctuary cities, but I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution, even when it means I must oppose bills aimed at policy goals that I support.

It passed 228-195.

Amash is supported as a pure Constitutional conservative and often does not vote with the GOP.

About the Author

- Catherine "Kaye" Wonderhouse, a proud descendant of the Wunderhaus family is the Colorado Correspondent who will add more coverage, interviews and reports from this midwest area.

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