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The Dallas Chronicle: Crosstalk: Should ‘sanctuary cities’ be penalized?

February 21, 2017 07:38 PM
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Crosstalk: Should ‘sanctuary cities’ be penalized?

By Jesse Burkhardt

Before Donald Trump became president, Americans did not hear the phrase "Sanctuary City" very often. But with a crackdown on illegal immigration and changes to immigration policy a big part of Trump’s campaign for the presidency, times have changed, and suddenly the topic is now often in the headlines.

The word "sanctuary" here is something of a misnomer. It certainly does not mean undocumented immigrants will be shielded under any circumstances. According to the Wikipedia definition, a "Sanctuary City" in the United States is a municipality that has "adopted a policy of protecting unauthorized immigrants by not prosecuting them for violating federal immigration laws and by ensuring that all residents have access to city services, regardless of immigration status."

Also, the "Sanctuary City" phrase generally means municipal funds or resources are not used to enforce immigration laws, and the policy typically forbids police or municipal employees from sharing information about a person's immigration status with federal authorities. In Oregon, the entire state is considered a sanctuary, thanks to a 1987 state law that prevents law enforcement from using state resources to find or arrest undocumented immigrants living in Oregon.

It’s critical to remember, however, that those who commit serious offenses – for example, assault or breaking into someone’s home -- are not going to be shielded.

Honestly, don’t state and local law enforcement agencies have much more serious issues to deal with than looking for those who might have come into the country without the proper paperwork? If police officers encounter someone who has broken a law and is in the U.S. illegally, by all means, deport them. But if, for example, someone witnesses a traffic accident and steps forward to tell a police officer what he saw, he should not be seized and handed over to the feds if in the process of being a good citizen he is found to be an "illegal immigrant."

Turning people over to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency when the individual has not done anything else wrong would be counterproductive. It could lead to a sharp deterioration of communication between the police and those in the community. It could actually lead to a jump in crime and turn otherwise responsible citizens into people who feel threatened. It could easily create an "us against them" mentality.

Even in the Muslim community, this approach can be expected to backfire. Whereas now those of the Muslim faith would probably turn someone in if they suspected a terrorist act was being planned, that channel could very easily dry up if even those who want to help believe they could be deported as a result.

It’s dumb policy. It’s a fearful approach that will end up making all of us less safe.

The United States is a nation of immigrants. Other than the native tribal people who were living here when Columbus "discovered" America, our country was founded by immigrants and refugees who came here to start a new life or to avoid persecution of one type or another. Being a haven for those who want to reach our shores to live in freedom is a core American value.

It would be wrong to try to hunt down anyone and everyone who came here from another place to escape war, threats to their lives, or a lack of religious or other freedoms. In many cases, shipping them back to where they came from would be a death sentence. That’s simply wrong on a human level.

Certainly, anyone caught committing a crime that is at all serious should be turned over to ICE officers. And that’s the way it is now. "Sanctuary" simply means that if your only offense is being in the United States without being a citizen or without a valid passport or visa, no one is going to be hunting for you. That’s where the line should remain.

 

By RaeLynn Ricarte

Furor over the establishment of sanctuary cities is broader than just a single issue, even one as significant to national security as harboring illegal aliens who commit criminal acts and creating a safe haven for terrorists and drug cartel kingpins.

Liberals’ defense of select lawlessness is part of an "any ends justifies the means" political agenda that is setting the stage for chaos. Essentially, a mob is deciding what laws to respect based on their own ideologies and without regard for the due process that protects the rights of all Americans.

Why is that important? Because if the law applies to all but one, then it holds justice for none.

And let us not forget that there are legal mechanisms in place to help the oppressed and people seeking a better life enter the United States.

If Leftists don’t like the laws of the land, there is a legislative structure for changing policies that allows everyone’s voice to be heard and considered.

If we don’t follow that process, we end with arbitrary rules that are inflicted by the mob, or activist judges, and no one knows when and how it's safe to act.

Ironic that the Left, which is vowing to resist President Donald Trump’s actions to secure our borders and keep our citizens safe, will seek defense of its illegal actions in the courts, betting on judges who share their ideologies to create new law, usurping the role of Congress.

Leftists like to say sanctuary cities, counties and states are simply not cooperating with federal authorities, as in police not checking immigration status when making arrests or traffic stops, but that is not the truth. Many of these government agencies actively resist when federal officials come looking for illegals who are suspected of criminal acts.

These agencies are willing to jeopardize citizens for the sake of illegals.

San Francisco became ground zero for the debate over sanctuary cities when Kathryn Steinle, 32, was shot and killed in 2015 on a popular pier by Francisco Sanchez, an illegal immigrant who had been convicted of seven felonies and deported five times. And that’s just one case.

According to the nonprofit Center for Immigration Studies, more than 66,000 illegal alien criminals were released between 2013 and 2015. There were more than 166,000 convictions among them, including 11,000 rapes and 395 homicides. Thousands of them were rearrested after committing further crimes.

Trump’s executive order on sanctuary areas says that they can lose federal funding if they don’t follow the law, which requires them to share information about "the citizenship or immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of any individual."

It is important to reiterate that Trump isn’t making new law; everything he’s called for is already the law of the land.

The president has also directed the Department of Homeland Security to create a "name and shame" list of sanctuary cities, including publicizing the names of aliens who commit crimes against our citizens.

More than 100 sanctuary cities across America receive a total of $27 billion in federal funds each year.

Legal experts agree that grants distributed by the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security could be withheld from these areas, and they should be.

People who come here illegally should not benefit from taxpayer-funded government services and programs, and public entities that fail to uphold the law should be penalized.

The Left is determined to use every tool available to thwart Trump, and the will of American voters. So, expect obstruction on this and every other front they oppose. It angers me greatly that the Left uses the Constitution as the basis for legal arguments to gutevery principle in it and, ultimately, destroy it.

It is unethical to hide behind the Constitution when you are trying to create a Ruling Class that labels opponents "deplorables" and then goes after them.

Original Article, Here

 

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