Mimesis Law
4 June 2020

Sorry Kids, But No Campus Is A Sanctuary

November 28, 2016 (Fault Lines) — If you’re not entirely inclined to lend your ear to us at Fault Lines when it comes to the Supremacy Clause, listen to Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Nushin Sayfie rule on a $22 million drug case that had been initially picked up by state prosecutors, only to be snatched by their federal counterparts in the eleventh hour:

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Nushin Sayfie, who heads the criminal division, was sympathetic but couldn’t do much. “Federal law is the supreme law of the land,” she said, adding: “I just don’t think I am the appropriate tribunal given where I fall in the pecking order.”

Hernandez-Gonzalez remains jailed and is charged in state court with marijuana trafficking and money laundering. However, last month, federal authorities unsealed a grand-jury indictment stemming from the same cash seizure.

He is accused federally of laundering the money and conducting illegal financial transactions to hide the money.  A federal prosecutor, appearing by phone in state on Monday, could not say why the U.S. Attorney’s Office could not wait until the end of the state trial in December. “It’s unfortunate that it may cause a delay in the proceedings but we do have an interest in bringing him over here and prosecuting him federally,” federal prosecutor Elijah Levitt said.

(Even the obvious must be emphasized from time to time.)

So let’s work this backwards: if a robed state jurist cannot (because of law) push back against the feds when they — eventually or whenever, it’s ultimately up to them — decide to join the prosecutorial party,* what chance in hell does a university staffer, or dean, have if the feds show up to enforce the supreme law of the land?

They may be proficient in absorbing the screams of those brats snowflakes who are feeling marginalized or deprived of their safe space because of Halloween costumes, but if an Immigration and Customs Enforcement deportation officer shows up to pick up a student who has an outstanding order of deportation, there’s nothing they can do to stop the enforcement of federal law. To think or behave otherwise is worse than stupid, ignorant, or arrogant: it’s dangerous. At best, the wannabe hero might end up with a good ol’ fashioned ass kicking. At worst, he might end up sitting at the dock with a charge for obstruction of justice.

As usual, the best course of action is to not resist and call up the nearest defense lawyer** to help sort out the mess in court. Yes, local law enforcement may be exempt from being commandeered to enforce federal law, but that has no bearing on the feds’ ability and authority to show up at the nearest “sanctuary city” or university to enforce federal law.

This is why the concept of “sanctuary campuses” is legal bupkis. The effort of universities providing shelter to those who are the subject of the feds’ immigration enforcement sounds noble and humanitarian, but it means squat in the legal trenches. Want to really help your students steer clear of ICE’s grasp? Make sure they don’t overstay their student J-1 visa, or help them apply for DACA before Trump’s immigration “apocalypse” becomes a reality.

If these colleges are claiming that they can provide a safe harbor from federal enforcement and prosecutorial priorities, their students are being done an enormous disservice. What’s worse, the students are being put in harm’s way when their immigration status may have a solution that doesn’t involve just staying within the confines of their school of choice.

But academia’s recent hoopla about their (un)documented students’ status and rights begs the question: where the hell where they whilst students were denied basic due process for sexual assault allegations, or while Obama locked up and deported “illegals” in record numbers? Plenty of damage was done to many during those wonderful times, and it wasn’t limited to scarlet letters on people’s transcripts. It seems that universities’ perceived ability to do the work that’s assigned to local law enforcement (e.g., investigate and prosecute rapes) has expanded into an arrogant belief that they can usurp a federal mandate. At long last, have these profs left no sense of decency humility?

I don’t remember reading about a “cry in” or coloring book sessions for any of that. If all it took for them to be roused from their stupor was a Trump presidency, by all means, folks. Let’s have another one. Besides, you’ve been assured before by a plucky young cynic how the President-Elect’s sinister deportation plans are a logistical impossibility. So no harm, no foul, just yet.

*There are always issues with dual prosecution by state and federal authorities, but that’s another conversation for another day. Stay thirsty, my friends.

**That’s not a marketing ploy for any defense lawyer at Fault Lines. With hand in heart, it’s meant as a form of legal first-aid should ICE storm into your restaurant and ask for everyone’s papeles, wherever or whenever.

8 Comments on this post.

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  • Jeff Gamso
    28 November 2016 at 12:15 pm - Reply

    Not from the local constabulary, either, of course.

    In the distant past, before I went to law school, back when Vikings roamed the seas and knights-errant faced each other with maces and lances and swords, and I was professing English in at Texas Tech in Lubbock (the Hub City), it several times happened that the cops came to my classroom door while I was teaching. They’d tell me they were going to remove a student for, well, usually they wouldn’t say just way. But I figured it wasn’t because they had a commendation waiting.

    One time they asked me to point the victim out. I refused. Other times I told them to wait until class was over and get the evildoer on the way out. Only once did they just barge in, but they certainly could have.

    There was an unofficial university policy about all this calling for us on the faculty to be cooperative but try to avoid disruption of the class. But really, the cops had guns and all the authority (i.e., copness) they needed to do what they wanted. (A story in Newsweek after former-Tech-student John Hinkley shot Reagan said that students at Tech routinely carried guns in their backpacks, which may or may not have been true, but wasn’t an obvious factor either way.)

    • Mario Machado
      29 November 2016 at 4:50 pm - Reply

      And to think some of those in your prof shoes today have the temerity to suggest that their pupils may resist a federal mandate. Fast forward to today, and you might have been out on your ass for taking such a reasoned approach to the constables (federal or otherwise) showing up to get one of your students.

  • Brian
    28 November 2016 at 3:38 pm - Reply

    What I want to know is, when did all this snowflake bull**** start? I certainly don’t remember it while I was in college full-time less than a decade ago, despite living in New England.

    The idea of flouting federal law, sadly, I can quite understand (not tolerate, mind you).

    29 November 2016 at 9:23 am - Reply


    Interesting post. Sanctuary campuses?

    Because I am old, I remember when Ole Miss (the University of Mississippi) was a sanctuary campus for folks like me. That was until 500 US Marshals (and James Meredith) made it otherwise.

    History is fun. College kids are, by and large, dumb. Lesson to be learned: Don’t fuck with the Feds.

    All the best.


    • Mario Machado
      29 November 2016 at 4:42 pm - Reply

      Judge Kopf,

      As dumb as most college brats are, you’d figure they would heed that simple lesson. But I also blame their profs for enabling this nonsense. It would be sort of funny if the whole “sanctuary” concept wasn’t so damn ignorant, and thus dangerous.

      The best to you & yours Judge.

  • anon
    29 November 2016 at 4:02 pm - Reply

    I sure wish I could go back to college. there is a lot to be said for being a professional student. It would be great to just go on collecting various degrees. Senator Bernie Sanders says that college should be tuition free. If he would have just included room and board, and a modest spending allowance to go with it, I would have voted for him. I know what you’re thinking, nothing is free, the tax increase you would pay over the entirety of your working life would vastly exceed the cost of paying the student loans. But the beauty of my plan would be that you never go to work. Just keep collecting various degrees. College can be a sanctuary.

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