Iowa Congressman Steve King has named a bill that would impose jail time for local officials who tip off illegal immigrants to federal sweeps after the Mayor of Oakland.
The Iowa Republican dubbed the bill the Mayor Libby Schaaf Act, after the Oakland mayor who alerted California’s bay area to an impending sweep earlier this year, in a move that immigration officials said helped hundreds of people escape detection.
At the time the chief of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Ms. Schaaf was essentially acting as a “gang lookout” tipping off lawbreakers when police came through their neighborhood.
The Libby Schaff Act “would include a penalty of up to five years in prison for any state or local official who obstructed enforcement of federal laws.”
Federal Immigration law is undoubtedly the purview of the National Government, so obstruction of that seems like a subject worthy of examination, but a generic “any state or local official who obstructs enforcement of federal laws” strikes me as something inviting abuse.
The Federal government regulates a lot of things it should not. If Rep. Kings Bill (which I have not read) is not clear about the limiting enforcement to issues of a Federal Nature (like border security, international drug and human trafficking, and so on), future administrations might want to use that power to strong-arm state and local officials.
The Obama administration used federal money or the Office of Civil Rights as a means to force municipalities into engaging in lousy policy (Broward County being but one recent example). Adding the threat of prison isn’t giving me a feel-good sensation.
I’ve met Rep. Steve King, and he seems like he’d do this the right way. But until we get more details, I can laugh at the “poke in the eye” to the progressive who feel more empathy toward MS-13 gang members than unborn babies. But let’s reserve judgment on the rest until we’ve seen the language in the bill.