NY Sues Trump Over Constitutional Rights of Non-Citizens, Most 2,000 Miles Away


Each morning, I wake up and wonder just how much more farcical the media’s coverage of illegal immigration will get. Hearsay reports of children being kept in dog cages and having cigarette smoke blown on them? Allegations that detained Hondurans are now being used as forced labor in sugar mines to appease our new insect overlords?

It hasn’t gotten there yet, and I use the word “yet” with the fear and apprehension that those stories aren’t far off. #TheResistance, after all, gets stranger and stranger by the day. And the state of New York is adding to that ridiculously bizarre state.

Those of you who have looked at a map recently (or at all) will have noticed that New York is not on the Mexican border. In fact, it’s a solid 2,000 miles away from our southern neighbor. That’s quite a ways.

Has that stopped Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s liberal satrapy from getting itself stuck in the mire on the issue of illegal immigrants being separated from their children while their cases are adjudicated? Of course not. Precedent be damned — Gov. Cuomo is about to strike a blow for #TheResistance, whether he actually has the legal standing or not. (Spoiler alert: He probably doesn’t.)

Oh, and the people he’s suing on behalf of aren’t even citizens. Just thought I’d throw that one out there, as well.

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“Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced New York State intends to file a multi-agency lawsuit against the Trump Administration on the grounds that the federal government is violating the Constitutional rights of thousands of immigrant children and their parents who have been separated at the border,” a Wednesday news release from the governor’s office reads.

“We now know of more than 70 children who are staying in federal shelters in New York State and that number is expected to increase as other facilities are contacted.”

Yes, 70 children who are housed in federal facilities in the Empire State. That apparently gives Cuomo standing, at least in his eyes. Ay dios mio.

“The Governor is directing the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, the Department of Health and the Office of Children and Family Services to commence legal action against the federal government’s ‘Separation of Families’ policy,” the statement continues.

Is this lawsuit just political posturing by Andrew Cuomo?

“Following the callous and inhumane treatment of immigrant families at the border, New York is suing to protect the health and well-being of children being held at least 10 different facilities across the state and at others throughout the nation.”

“The Trump Administration’s policy to tear apart families is a moral failing and a human tragedy,” Cuomo said in the statement. “We will not tolerate the Constitutional rights of children and their parents being violated by our federal government.  New York will act and file suit to end this callous and deliberate attack on immigrant communities, and end this heartless policy once and for all.”

The state’s suit is based on the the 1997 Flores Settlement Agreement, which “set national standards regarding the detention, release, and treatment of all children in immigration detention and prioritizes the principle of family unity. It requires that juvenile immigrant detainees be released from custody without unnecessary delay, or when no appropriate placement is available, be held in the least restrictive setting appropriate to age and special needs.”

The proposed lawsuit doesn’t mention any legal developments since the Flores Agreement, which are of some significance. It was also filed before President Trump signed an executive order allowing families to be detained together, which would end the issue addressed in the lawsuit but also could come with a host of legal challenges on its own. Presumably, Gov. Cuomo can work himself into a towering rage over that, too.

There are a lot of questions raised by this preposterous lawsuit. Where, for example, are illegal immigrants “afforded rights under the United States Constitution to familial integrity,” particularly when they’ve committed a crime? Is that in the director’s cut of the Constitution?

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Furthermore, what legal standing does New York State have when this is happening thousands of miles outside of its jurisdiction involving citizens of Central American countries?

The short answer to this is that none of this matters. Andrew Cuomo — or at least his lawyers — will lose and lose big in court, but this is all about visibility. Cuomo is among the 862 Democrats thought to have a reasonable chance at winning the presidential nomination in 2020, and he needs to be seen as being conspicuously against Trump.

So, even if the lawsuit has less than zero when it comes to merits, that’s not particularly important so long as it aids in Cuomo’s visibility. This will do nothing for illegal immigrants and less for their children, but it will certainly do a great deal for one Andrew Cuomo.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture