By Matt E. Stevens
City officials in the District of Columbia are holding firm on immigration, daring the federal government to make them enforce what’s perceived as invasive immigration practices. Thumbing his nose at federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Mayor Vincent Gray signed an executive order instructing police officers and public service officials not to question the immigration status of persons with whom they have contact. The move makes the District stand out on the increasingly conservative national landscape over illegal immigration.
Washington, D.C.’s stance on illegal immigration is vastly different than that of some states including Georgia, Alabama, and Arizona. That’s not so surprising given the city’s dominant Democratic political machine and extremely liberal voting base, underscoring a local belief that they shouldn’t be conducting what they see as “witch-hunts” on immigrants. And the District rightfully lets federal officials handle the task that falls under their jurisdiction.
In the executive order, Gray promises that the city will not enforce ICE detainers or warrants stemming specifically from immigration violations. They are leaving those processes up to the FBI.
“In the spirit of ‘One City,’ and assuring the equal treatment of citizens and non-citizens alike, I am delighted to sign this,” the mayor said.
Recent arguments to crack down on illegal immigration have come primarily from conservatives seeking to slow or completely stop the flow of undocumented workers into the U.S. Politicians have played into voter fears, many of whom are struggling in the down economy, suggesting illegals are a primary reason for their problems.