Some decline to use city or state tax dollars to enforce federal immigration laws.

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nagomi

Senior Member
Korean
"There is no specific legal definition for what constitutes a sanctuary jurisdiction but the term is widely used to refer to American cities, counties or states that protect undocumented immigrants from deportation by limiting cooperation with federal immigration authorities. Some decline to use city or state tax dollars to enforce federal immigration laws. "


In the last sentence quoted above, I was first confused with what it meant. My first interpretation was some jurisdictions refuse to spend their tax money aiming at enforcing federal immigration laws. But this contradicts with the context. So I read it again, and this time it came to me as some cities or states do not use their tax dollars to resist enforcing immigration laws.

And questions came to my mind:

1) What will be a better way to put this sentence not to confuse readers (am I alone in this?) I think "not to" would have been better than just "to" after "tax dollars"

2) With the verb "spend", when talking about spending money, there's a commonly accepted grammar of using a present participle after it, for example, "spent $10 buying a car".

If so, may I rearrange this sentence to "some cities don't spend tax dollars not enforcing immigration laws"?


source: http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2016/11/economist-explains-13
 
  • Barque

    Banned
    Tamil
    My first interpretation was some jurisdictions refuse to spend their tax money aiming at enforcing federal immigration laws.
    That's my interpretation too.
    But this contradicts with the context.
    Why do you say that?
    When a city's enforcement mechanism implements something, they're spending money - on salaries to their workers, costs of carrying out the work etc.
    I think "not to" would have been better than just "to" after "tax dollars"
    If so, may I rearrange this sentence to "some cities don't spend tax dollars not enforcing immigration laws"?
    If you're not doing something, you're obviously not spending money on it. This isn't what is meant.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    AE (US English)
    You have it backwards. They are resisting federal law. Instead of arresting illegals and giving them to federal agents (as required by federal law), they actively help illegals hide from federal agents.

    Their excuse is that local money pays the salaries of the police. Since they are paying for every hour and every minute a policeman works, they should decide what the policeman does in every hour and minute. So they are telling their police "spend zero hours and zero minutes of your time working to enforce immigration laws."

    If they say it that way it is legal (in their opinion), while it would be illegal to tell police "we order you to interfere with enforcement of federal law."

    But it is just an excuse. It does not explain the many documented cases where an illegal breaks local laws and police do not charge them, lock them up and bring them before a judge (like they would any citizen), because if they are in jail federal agents can find them.
     
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