For far too long, too many have spoken out on the problem of illegal immigration but done too little. The laws we need to combat illegal immigration are on the books in this country, and they are pretty clear. However, these laws only work if they are enforced across all levels of government – federal, state and local. If we are to end illegal immigration, we must establish the rule of law and enforce the current laws.
That is why the practice of creating sanctuary policies in places like New York City is so troubling. "Sanctuary cities" tell those who are here illegally that the laws of this country do not matter. Sanctuary policies create virtual amnesty zones for illegal immigrants. While amnesty was just defeated in the Congress, places like New York City offer a promise of amnesty to those who ignore our immigration laws. It is disturbing that some cities have intentionally decided that certain laws do not need to be enforced.
Furthermore, sanctuary city policies encourage illegal immigration and weaken our nation's ability to secure our borders. There is very little doubt that sanctuary city policies are one contributing factor to why we have gone from 3 million illegal immigrants in this country in 1986 to more than 12 million illegal immigrants today.
The policies that were implemented and embraced by mayors in places like New York City severely undermined the enforcement of our immigration laws and weakened our ability to secure our nation's borders. The public officials who openly advocated the creation of "zones of protection" for lawbreakers are responsible for contributing to a flood of illegal immigrants in this country today. These policies have created an even bigger illegal immigration problem.
Governor Romney believes we need to end sanctuary policies. As President, Governor Romney will crack down on these sanctuary policies and will withhold federal funds that go to these cities. He strongly believes that cities that do not and will not enforce federal immigration laws should not be receiving federal funds. Governor Romney will step up the enforcement of our immigration laws. On this, we have his word and a clear record of action.
Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX) is the Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee and Former Chairman of the Immigration Sub-committee