Tuesday, February 21, 2017

About That Order

Mayor Tiffany Martin Hamilton speaks about the order issued by the Police Commissioner yesterday regarding the Hudson Police Department and Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) in a Lance Wheeler video now on YouTube. Click here to view it.



  1. We are walking a political tightrope. On the one hand, declaring that Hudson is a "sanctuary city" would make the city a lightning rod for retribution by a vindictive president who will be in office for the next four years. On the other hand, it is important for the city not to be complicit with an agency of the federal government that is violating the Constitution and American values. In light of this dilemma, the mayor did the right thing.

    1. Funny, I didn't hear the mayor say that the federal government is violating the Constitution. Instead, I heard her say that, within the law, she wants to "make the most vulnerable members of our community feel protected" against an increased potential for error.

      I hope that the Common Council can see those are different things.

    2. The Federal Government has likely violated the 14th amendment two times since inauguration day. First, with the travel ban that deprived green card holders and visa holders of their 14 amendment rights, and secondly, by issuing a memo that directs ICE to deport people who have merely been charged with a crime, also in violation of the 14th amendment.

      The 14th amendment states, "nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." The key here is the word "person."

      There have been several court cases in the last century or so that have emphatically ruled that undocumented persons have rights under the 14th amendment. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Zadvydas v. Davis (2001) that "due process" of the 14th Amendment applies to all aliens in the United States whose presence maybe or is "unlawful, involuntary or transitory."

      A decade before Plyler, the court ruled in Almeida-Sanchez v. United States (1973) that all criminal charge-related elements of the Constitution's amendments (the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and the 14th) such as search and seizure, self-incrimination, trial by jury and due process, protect non-citizens, legally or illegally present.

      In Wong Win v. United States (1896), the court ruled that:

      "It must be concluded that all persons within the territory of the United States are entitled to the protection by those amendments [Fifth and Sixth] and that even aliens shall not be held to answer for a capital or other infamous crime, unless on presentment or indictment of a grand jury, nor deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law."

      The mayor is in a very tight spot, with a divided populace, the necessity of upholding the constitution upon which she has sworn, and not running afoul of US code which indicates that the Federal Government has the ability to enter into agreements with state and local law enforcement agencies, permitting designated officers to perform immigration law enforcement functions, pursuant to a memorandum of agreement, provided that the local law enforcement officers receive appropriate training and function under the supervision of sworn U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers.

      What is interesting to me, is that with this order, the Mayor is likely just pissing off both sides. The people who want Hudson to be a sanctuary city see that this does not go far enough, and the other side, whom I can only describe as tragically undereducated, think she is inviting anarchy onto the streets of Hudson.

      I really hope that Hudson does become a Sanctuary city, and that there is a joint effort between all the cities of New York and Eric Schneiderman to fight this battle in court, if it comes to it.

    3. Thank you for this very thoughtful, knowledgeable and informative comment. I would be interested to know if there is any policy or precedent concerning a "memorandum of agreement" between ICE and local law enforcement. It is my understanding that an agreement, in order to be legal and enforceable, must be entered into voluntarily, without coercion and not under duress.

    4. Funny, I was only congratulating the mayor for not weighing in on Constitutional issues. But because your "reply," Mr. Duke, followed my comment, it's fair to assume you were offering a counter-comment.

      You've done an admirable job reviewing the high court's opinions, and I don't disagree that this is a proper and righteous understanding of the 14th Amendment.

      That said, it was wise that the mayor of a tiny city didn't take this opportunity to proclaim the "necessity of upholding the Constitution upon which she has sworn."

      Rather, it was insightful of Mayor Hamilton and her advisors to see that she could single-handedly achieve a significant goal without framing the measure in the grandiose terms you'd invariably celebrate (reading into your final paragraph).

      Had the mayor gone further, it would have come off as a pompous stunt, something only her most myopic supporters would want her to accomplish - or perhaps anyone with designs on her office. It would have been an attention-grabbing exploitation, the kind best left to the Common Council. (The Council is a plural body, for which it's rare any single Alderman is brought to task for the negative consequences of his or her self-righteousness; e.g., as when grandstanding causes the opposite effect from the one ostensibly desired.)

      So before you cast judgement on the "tragically undereducated" of Hudson, mischaracterizing a host of local, proportionate, and seemly concerns which are unrelated to fearing "anarchy [on] the streets of Hudson," you might hazard some respect for your apparent enemies, people who may depend on manual labor (I work with my hands), who play by the rules for their honest income (moi aussi), and who may have been here a lot longer than you.

      Come to think of it, I don't see anything in your words which would not apply equally and abstractly in any municipality in the nation. Invariably, an abstract thinker will be proud of this fact; whereas for a non-abstract and "tragically undereducated" thinker like myself, your argument mean less to me if you are commenting from Florida, or New Mexico, or [God forbid] Washington State!

      You and I certainly do not disagree about the meaning of the 14th Amendment, but only who is best suited to test it, and when, and where.

      By all means allow the City of Hudson Common Council to achieve your goals for you, but whether or not such a Resolution is the wisest course (compared to which the mayor's action was not unwise) will depend to a great degree on how the legislation is drafted.

      To that end, I have serious doubts that the lack of respect you've shown for those whom you disagree - a position which may in itself indicate a want of circumspection - is truly the best approach.

      To White Whale, as I understand it there's no agreement of any kind between the HPD and ICE, nor has ICE asked the HPD or the Court Clerk for any information. Of course you could always go and ask the HPD yourself, which is what I did.

  2. To up the ante, google "nullification."

    1. For my previous comment on nullification: