"Sanctuary Cities: Fugitive Harbors
Like many Americans, I am heartbroken by the tragic death of 32-year-old Kate Steinle, who was murdered earlier this month while on a walk with her father, Jim, in San Francisco. Accused of committing this crime is Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, an illegal immigrant who had previously been deported five times and convicted of seven felonies.
San Francisco is what some refer to as a “sanctuary city,” and does not require that local officials, law enforcement, etc. abide by federal immigration laws. Put simply, these cities essentially refuse to comply with immigration laws on the books and even, as described by the National Journal, “…shelter undocumented immigrations from federal immigration-law enforcement.”
Accordingly, when Lopez-Sanchez was released from jail in March of this year yet again, he found sanctuary in San Francisco.
What transpired as a result is devastating, infuriating, outrageous, etc. We should not tolerate the President’s refusal to enforce our immigration law, including his Administration’s unwillingness to aggressively intervene when these laws go unenforced.
The Administration is failing here, and in doing so is needlessly endangering American lives. It is up to Congress to act.
The Senate and House Judiciary Committees, the latter of which is led by Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), have been examining these policies. Jim Steinle, Kate’s father, has testified at hearings on these issues, advocating for policies which will get “…undocumented immigrant felons off our streets for good.”
I strongly approve of this objective. With my support, the House of Representatives passed the Enforce the Law for Sanctuary Cities Act (H.R. 3009) on July 23, the same day Mr. Steinle testified before the House Judiciary Committee. This bill would remove State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) funding for states or localities with policies that do not enforce federal immigration laws (entities that refuse to communicate an individual’s citizenship or immigration status with Immigration and Naturalization Services, those that prevent their law enforcement from gathering information regarding citizenship or immigration status, etc). This bill now awaits a vote in the Senate.
Another bill, the Michael David, Jr. and Danny Oliver in Honor of State and Local Law Enforcement Act(H.R. 1148), would prevent sanctuary cities from receiving certain federal grants, expedite the removal of criminal aliens, etc. David and Oliver were killed by a twice-deported alien. This bill has passed the House Judiciary Committee, and awaits a vote by the full House of Representatives.
The tragic death of Kate Steinle is a stark reminder that one of our top priorities should be defending America’s borders and enforcing our laws, not accommodating those who break them. The House is taking action, and members of the Senate are also looking to crack down on sanctuary cities. The Administration ought to follow suit, enforce our nation’s immigration laws, and seek to protect the American people as well as the rule of law.
This web site is aware that some of our readers and correspondents will think that, if anything, the bills discussed here don't go far enough. Because some people who cross national borders illegally are evildoers wherever they are, some people think all "illegal aliens" are evildoers, and the only solution to this horrible problem of "illegal immigration" is to be able to track everybody's identity all the time. This web site suspects that most of the people who feel that way (1) have blue eyes, and also (2) can't remember when the U.S. was at war with any part of Europe.
Personally, and I'm sure my being a tenth-generation American with a complexion that could be seen as either Arab-type or Mexican-type in summer has everything to do with this...I'd rather just chill. I think people who receive substantial tax-funded benefits (I mean full college tuition grants and tax-funded medical care, not just the use of public streets and libraries) should have to prove that they or their parents are U.S. taxpayers. And people who've been deported because they committed violent crimes here, and their home countries have allowed them to come back here, should lose the privilege of being deported; no need to bother with the lethal injection, just lock'em up, and who said anything about feeding them. And people who are here because they'd rather be underpaid laborers here than be even more underpaid laborers back home should just be paid for what they do.
Obviously people can't keep immigrating into the United States forever. The parts of this country where the jobs are are getting crowded. We need to admit that. A large part of our existing population are becoming less able to work and more likely to need medical care, so we can't really afford even to maintain existing levels of funding for handouts. We need to admit that too. We need to warn the rest of the world that, if you can survive at all in the country where you were born, you're more likely to thrive there than you are here.
But I used to live in one of those "sanctuary" neighborhoods (Takoma Park, Maryland, pre-yuppification) and it was safe and clean and friendly and fun and, by and large, the way I wish more of the world would be. The average "illegal" dishwasher, janitor, or babysitter may be annoying to any legal immigrants or natural-born citizens with whom s/he may be competing for jobs, but otherwise doesn't want trouble, wants to be a good neighbor, would have been "legal" if s/he had had more money or had to deal with less hostile officials or had better communication skills, and, if able to vote, would probably vote Republican. (We disapprove of foreign dictators; people whose fathers were shot by foreign dictators' armed forces loathe foreign dictators. And Muslims and Catholics tend to agree with the Moral Majority about a lot of things.)
I see a pattern forming here. It's not a very pretty pattern. In the cities where young unskilled laborers live, competition for jobs and cheap rooms is getting more intense. Hostility toward illegal aliens, ditto. Conservatives generally think laws should be enforced. The Illiberal Left will be delighted to blame Republicans for cracking down on the "sanctuary cities" when they roll out their next proposal for demanding that everybody's identity information be made available to everybody else, all the time, the better to increase discontent and foment revolution. Too many people want these bills to pass for anybody to be interested in an old lady's memories. The bills will pass. Microchip implants in humans may become mandatory in the next ten years or so.
I respect people's right to worry about illegal immigration, to want more than just the scholarship grants and subsidized surgical operations to be withheld from those who are here "illegally." I've posted things that document their concerns here before. I will again.
I just feel obliged to mention that I don't like it.