With Donald Trump elected to the presidency, one of the policies that will likely come under fire is sanctuary cities, cities with policies that make them safe havens for illegal aliens. The issue became front-and-center during the early portion of the Republican primary when Trump decried the murder of Kate Steinle by an illegal alien in San Francisco, a sanctuary city.
In response to the election of Trump, leftist city leaders are digging in, officials in Los Angeles, Chicago and Boston signaling that they will not cooperate with the federal government’s deportation efforts. Here are five things you need to know about sanctuary cities.
1. Sanctuary cities are a blatant violation of federal law. Some on the left have tried to claim that they’re perfectly legal, but this is clearly false. As James Walsh, former associate general counsel of Immigration and Naturalization Services, explains, 8 USC section 1324 “deals with those persons who knowingly conceal, harbor, or shield undocumented aliens and could apply to officials in sanctuary cities and states.”
The fact that leftists are digging their heels in on sanctuary cities means they’re supporting a form of nullification, an irony not missed by Victor Davis Hanson:
Much of the rural West opposes the Endangered Species Act. Can Wyoming declare that federally protected rats and bugs are not protected inside its state borders, when such pests obstruct construction of dams or highways? Many conservatives oppose federal restrictions on gun sales. Could Oklahoma City declare hand-gun purchases within its city-limits free of federal firearms statutes? Perhaps Little Rock could ignore a Supreme Court ruling and announce that gay marriage is not legal within its jurisdiction. On what rationale would liberals in California object to such nullifications — that neither state nor city had the right to ignore a federal law or to obstruct the law enforcement duties of federal officials?
Trump and the GOP can fight against sanctuary cities by cutting off federal funding and sending in federal agents to mandate the cities to follow the law.
2. Sanctuary cities undermine law enforcement. Not only do they refuse to cooperate with federal agents in deporting illegals, sanctuary cities make it more difficult for police officers to do their job. Some police officers in the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) expressed their frustration with the city’s sanctuary city policy to Heather Mac Donald in 2004:
“We can’t even talk about it,” says a frustrated LAPD captain. “People are afraid of a backlash from Hispanics.” Another LAPD commander in a predominantly Hispanic, gang-infested district sighs: “I would get a firestorm of criticism if I talked about [enforcing the immigration law against illegals].”
In that 2004 piece, Mac Donald documents how members of the LAPD were able to recognize known gang members, but couldn’t do anything to apprehend them until they had committed a crime – despite the fact that they were illegals who repeatedly snuck back into the country. This is the case with other sanctuary cities as well.
3. Sanctuary cities are “akin to roulette.” “The odds suggest that most illegal aliens detained by officials are not career felons and thus supposedly need not be turned over to ICE for deportation,” writes Hanson. “On the chance that some of their 10,000 released criminals will go on to commit further crimes in the manner of Juan Lopez-Sanchez, officials then shrug that the public outcry will be episodic and quickly die down, or will at least not pose political problems as great as would come from deporting aliens.”
But the odds don’t suggest this. Hanson notes that according to Mac Donald, “Two-thirds of all outstanding felony warrants in the city of Los Angeles involved illegal aliens — as well as 95% of outstanding murder warrants.”
Additionally, Jessica Vaughn of the Center for Immigration Studies found that in a nine-month timeframe in 2014, sanctuary cities shielded 9,265 illegals from deportation, 62 percent of which “had significant prior criminal histories” and 2,320 of them were subsequently rearrested for new crimes, according to Daniel Horowitz at Conservative Review.
“There is no telling how many have committed crimes and were never caught,” writes Horowitz. “This is just a nine-month snapshot of the devastation from sanctuary policies. As of last year, 69% of them were still at large. So much for not being a flight risk.”
According to Vaughn, from January 2014 to September 30, 2015, sanctuary cities rebuked over 17,000 detainers, 68 percent of which involved “individuals with a prior criminal history.”
Based on these statistics, it would seem that the odds are against the cities’ residents who could be harmed by criminal aliens, which makes it no surprise that…
4. Crime has surged in sanctuary cities. The Daily Wire‘s Hank Berrien reported on the following from Louisiana attorney general Jeff Landry:
According to Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, crime has risen in “sanctuary cities” across the nation.
Landry told the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security, that sanctuary city policies “allow illegals to commit crimes, then roam free in our communities.” Landry’s appearance was prompted by the changed status of New Orleans, where city police are now banned from asking an individual’s immigration status.
Using recent statistics from Los Angeles, another sanctuary city, Landry asserted, “Los Angeles saw all crime rise in 2015: violent crime up 19.9 percent, homicides up 10.2 percent, shooting victims up 12.6 percent, rapes up 8.6 percent, robberies up 12.3 percent, and aggravated assault up 27.5 percent … (sanctuary cities) encourage further illegal immigration and promote an underground economy that sabotages the tax base.”
This would make sense given the aforementioned statistics and the fact that there is a clear link between illegal immigration and crime.
5. There are an estimated 300 sanctuary cities, counties, and states, according to Vaughn. The full map on such jurisdictions can be seen here. Do you live in a sanctuary city?