The truth about sanctuary cities

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Sanctuary cities are not a new phenomenon. Sanctuary Cities have traditionally been fostered through restricting municipal employees from questioning city services while performing their official duties.

Therefore, if you come to a sanctuary city from another country without a legal visa, work permit or citizenship; you can access services like schools, hospitals, utilities and even law enforcement without being questioned about your illegal immigration status.

Upon its inception, these policies made sense to the leaders of sanctuary cities who needed illegal immigrants to be willing to report crimes in their communities, use health services or and enroll their children in school fear of deportation; as this was the ”lesser of the two evils” when considering hundreds of thousands of people living in an environment without education, assimilation, and skyrocketing unreported crime.

{mosads}Traditionally, these policies were in effect to protect those illegal immigrants who came to America to seek opportunity and protection from violence, corruption and persecution in their homeland. In practice, municipal law enforcement officers couldn’t stop or detain people merely on the suspicion of an immigration violation.


However, as is standard policy upon a lawful arrest or detention, records checks are made. If, at that point, an immigration violation was noted, the proper notifications were made to the federal authorities.

Now, the very people living in these cities are being put to risk due to the politicization of this issue in today’s era of “tit-for-tat” politics.

The political contention about this issue started in 2010, with Arizona’s controversial immigration bill, SB1070 which made the failure to carry or present legal alien registration paperwork for aliens in Arizona a state misdemeanor crime, requiring state & local law enforcement to determine an individual’s immigration status during a “lawful stop, detention or arrest”, when there is reasonable suspicion that the individual is an illegal immigrant.

The Obama administration weighed in, and the condemning of immigration enforcement became a national issue filled with partisan vitriol. This has since became a keystone issue in the election of President Donald Trump, and many mistruths regarding immigration enforcement and increasingly dangerous policies being put forth by Mayors of sanctuary cities since.

So now, instead of just requiring municipal employees to “not ask” about immigration status when dealing with lawful citizens, like victims of crime, policies now include prohibiting police in these jurisdictions from cooperating with Immigration & Customs Enforcement agents, making the appropriate notifications regarding illegal aliens in legitimate police custody, and even allowing sworn federal agents from responding to courtrooms where illegal immigrants are facing criminal charges.

This sets an incredibly dangerous precedent on many levels. First, the ability to deport an illegal alien who commits a crime is an efficient way to forward the cause of public safety. Imagine you’re a police officer and you have chronic narcotics offenders on your beat, who turn out to be illegal aliens.

Upon a legitimate arrest, a notification could be made to ICE who are able to deport the offender upon their first court appearance, saving a beleaguered municipal justice system thousands of dollars in legal aid, corrections, and court proceedings.

However, this is not currently possible in sanctuary cities.

Second, there are many illegal aliens who are dangerous, violent felons who simply would not be on our streets had the immigration law been enforced. Not only is this evident by the 2015 murder of Kathryn Steinle in San Francisco by Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, an illegal immigrant who had previously been deported five times; but with the 2010 brutal, forcible rape of a 22-year old woman right across the street from Philadelphia Police Headquarters by illegal alien Alberto Isaac Navarrete Suarez; who wasn’t brought to justice until his 2014 capture in Mexico.

In addition, consider the growth of the violent MS-13 gang out of El Salvador, who has not only become the only gang so violent that it has been designated a terrorist organization by the State Department; but is a large source of the fentanyl fueling our ongoing opioid crisis through its large force of illegal alien members.

Lastly, consider the “slippery slope” presented by local jurisdictions deciding which federal laws they will and won’t enforce. Approximately 300 American jurisdictions are deciding not to enforce immigration law.

This brings to mind the myriad of local, state, and even congressional Democrats in the 1960s who resisted federal civil rights laws; resulting in strong federal enforcement. This makes one must wonder if the current fervor over Sanctuary Cities, especially from “machine” politicians like Chicago’s Rahm Emanuel, New York’s Bill De Blasio, and Philadelphia’s Jim Kenney is based in true concern for the immigrant communities most at risk from the criminal aliens roaming their streets, or in keeping with the Tammany Hall tradition of recruiting a loyal immigrant voter base through misinformation and lawlessness.

A. Benjamin Mannes is a national subject matter expert in public safety. He is an Executive Board Governor for InfraGard, the FBI-coordinated public-private partnership for infrastructure protection and sits on academic advisory boards at St. John’s University and Philadelphia’s Peirce College.

The views expressed by contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.

Tags Chicago De Blasio Deportation Donald Trump Donald Trump ICE Jim Kenney Mexico New York Philadelphia policing Rahm Emanuel San Francisco sanctuary cities

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