TRUMP ADMINISTRATION VS SANCTUARY CITIES

Sometimes, I think I am living in an alternate universe.  “Logic” has left the building.  “Left” is “right,” and “right” is “left.”  “Up” is “down,” and “down” is “up.”  “Black” is “white,” and “white” is “black.”  “Night” is “day,” and “day” is “night.”  In some cities, illegal immigrants have more rights and are protected better than citizens

There is no doubt that the issue of sanctuary cities and their relationship to the US’s immigration policies has become very emotional.  Many people have very strong opinions either in support or in opposition.  In fact, for some people it has become the most important issue, and it will likely be a major issue in the 2018 elections and beyond.

Presently, all across the US certain cities are blatantly ignoring or even working to undermine federal law in direct defiance of the federal government.  I am not an immigration lawyer, but, legally, the Constitution seems to be clearly on the side of the Feds.  According to the Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 the commission of even minor crimes is grounds for deportation.  Moreover, the Act   precludes localities from passing laws that prohibit municipal employees from reporting a person’s immigration status to federal authorities.  Furthermore, in January 2017 President Trump signed an Executive Order directing the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Attorney General to defund sanctuary cities that defy federal immigration law.   (I and many others predicted that President Obama’s liberal use of EOs was a double-edged sword, and now as Reverend Wright famously intoned “the chickens have come home to roost.”).

It is well settled that federal law trumps local law.  Indeed, the Supreme Court has, on numerous occasions, upheld the so-called Supremacy Clause of the Constitution.  Most of you are cognizant that we fought a civil war in the 1860s.  Historians agree that according to President Abraham Lincoln, the primary point of this war was not to abolish slavery (although that was a key result), but to maintain the authority of the federal government over individual states.  More recently the same principle was used to enforce integration laws in the South.

Proponents of sanctuary are becoming more aggressive.  They have no solid basis for their actions, so they claim deporting illegals are racist or a danger to public safety.  Those claims are beyond ridiculous.

Many localities have passed laws that go beyond mere non-cooperation; they encourage or even mandate non-compliance, such as limiting the ability of police officers to stop and question persons, or employers or citizens from reporting suspected illegal status.  Last week the Justice Department finally took action.  It filed suit against the State of California and certain of its elected officials claiming some of its recently-enacted laws made it “impossible” for ICE agents to do their jobs effectively.  In connection with this lawsuit, the JD is seeking to withhold federal funding to sanctuary cities.  Ultimately, the Supreme Court will probably have to decide the matter.

My research indicated that the idea of a sanctuary city goes back to the Bible.  They are mentioned in Numbers as a safe haven to protect perpetrators from “revenge killings,” which otherwise, were legal.  In more modern times the concept of sanctuary cropped up in the US in the early 1980s.  Refugees from war-torn Central American countries came to the US seeking asylum.  John Fife, a Presbyterian minister based in Tuscon, AZ, is credited with leading the effort to provide them sanctuary.  Some refugees were ensconced in churches; others were transported to safety by means of a modern version of the “underground railroad.”  The movement spread to many other areas of the country.

In the last several years the sanctuary movement has been gaining more steam and becoming more controversial.  The Center for Immigration Studies estimates that there are currently some 300 localities, including cities, counties, towns and states that are following sanctuary policies.  On the other hand, some 30 states have introduced or enacted laws requiring law local enforcement to cooperate with federal officials.

Sanctuary proponents deny that sanctuary cities have more crime due to illegals.  On the other hand, opponents denote several high-profile crimes committed by illegals, notably the brutal murder of Kate Steinle by an illegal who had been deported several times and re-entered illegally each time.

CONCLUSION

As I said, the issue of sanctuary cities and the related broader issue of immigration has become an emotional and controversial issue.  From the outset of his campaign for the presidency Mr. Trump co-opted it as his primary issue.  I believe his stance on it was a major reason why he won.   He is committed to fulfilling his campaign promise to secure our borders, which includes curbing sanctuary cities. Polls show that a clear majority of voters agree.

I believe that those who support sanctuary cities are on the wrong side of the issue.  For example:

  1.  A country has every right to secure its borders.  It’s not about keeping out people who want a better life or deporting law-abiding “dreamers”; it’s about keeping out terrorists and controlling the flow of illegal drugs.  Look no further than the chaos in Europe, where the EU countries have had an open border policy for years.  As Mr. Trump has often said: either you have a country, or you don’t.
  2. Those who cite the issue as “proof” that Mr. Trump is a racist are being disingenuous at best.  First of all, when someone drops the “R” label it a sure sign that they are desperate because they have no logical argument to present.  Secondly, as I discussed above, he is merely enforcing existing law.  That is his job.  That is what he was elected to do.  If one does not like the law, elect representatives who will change it.  Don’t complain, criticize and refuse to obey it.
  3. Elected officials have a duty to protect the citizens that elected them.  Ironically, many of those who who advocate a borderless country are the same ones who advocate tighter gun control..  Does that make sense?  Also, many of them enjoy 24/7 personal security and live in secure, gated communities.
  4. I believe that many Dems that support sanctuary cities and open borders are doing so for an insidious reason.  They are hoping that these illegals will eventually vote for them.  (Many states’ voter registration laws are so lax that persons who are ineligible to vote, such as felons and illegals, are able to do so.)
  5. Finally, as I said, these politicians give the distinct impression that are more attuned to the rights of illegals than their own constituency.  That was true in the Steinle case, among others.  I hope that voters will realize that and take it into account in November.
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