Seth Stodder, a senior law enforcement official ln both the Bush and Obama administrations whose whose most recent position was assistant secretary of Homeland Security for Border, Immigration and Trade Policy, writes in POLITICO on March 31 that he was opposed to the idea of Sanctuary Cities while he was a government official, but he has now changed his mind.

The reason, he explains, is that in the previous two administrations, federal immigration enforcement activities were (at laast in theory, one has to add) focused on deporting dangerous criminals. Therefore, Stodder points out in his piece, any lack of cooperation by local police officials in providing information about such individuals or turning them over to the federal government for deportation made those localities more dangerous places and directly impeded efforts to reduce violent crime.

However, Stodder writes that he has now changed his mind about Sanctuary Cities because the Trump administration's announced deportation policy no longer focuses only on on violent criminals who threaten the safety of their communities, but are directed againtt entire immigrant communities within these cities or states themselves.

In other words, what originally started out as a crime fighting measure under the two previous presidents has now morphed into mass deportation, something that cities and states have a legitimate interest in protecting members of their immigrant communities who are not violent or dangerous crimininals against.

But the transformation of fighting against crime into mass expulsion of up to 11 million unauthorized immigrants of every variety is not the only danger in the Trump administration's attacks against Sanctuary Cities, as most recently evidenced by A.G. Sessions' threat to cut off their federal funding because of their refusal to share information about immigration status with federal immigration authorities under INA Section 1373.

The most fundamental rights of American citizens are also at risk from this escalation. These include the rights to free speech, free association, and even marriage rights, all of which are in danger under INA Section 274, which makes it a federal felony to "harbor" or even "assist" an unauthorized immigrant in remaining in the United States.

Already, in some quarters, there have been dark calls to prosecute mayors of Sanctuary Cities under this broad, draconian, but up to now infrequently used statute.

Could millions of American citizens be sent to prison one day soon for providing advocacy, advice, legal or medical assistance, or even just failing to report any immigrant whose papers may not be in order to ICE for deportation?

Could America turn into a country governed by the spirit, (though of course not the letter) of Germany's infamous 1936 Nuremberg laws against the Jews?
Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He has been helping mainly skilled and professional immigrants obtain work visas and green cards for more than 35 years. Roger's email address is