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OPINION

Liberal Hypocrisy About Sanctuary Cities

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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Jordan Stead/seattlepi.com via AP, File

No one can accuse Donald Trump of not being able to grab attention.

He lobbed his latest political hand grenade, announcing that he is considering shipping off illegals who have been arriving in droves at the U.S.-Mexico border to sanctuary cities.

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These are municipalities with ordinances directing local authorizes to not cooperate with federal immigration enforcement being carried out by Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

States, cities and localities that have assumed sanctuary status are invariably Democratic and liberal strongholds.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, among the burgeoning list of Democratic presidential hopefuls for 2020, said on "Meet the Press" that he welcomes the proposal. Washington is home to a long list of sanctuary cities including Seattle and Spokane.

"We relish it," he said. "We're built as a state of immigrants. We've welcomed refugees."

Seattle mayor Jenny A. Durkan expressed similar sentiments in a Washington Post op-ed: "We will not allow a president who continues to threaten our shared values of inclusion, opportunity, and diversity to jeopardize the health and safety of our communities."

This is interesting to me, having just left Seattle after a several-day visit there on a speaking engagement.

My experience was just the opposite of the glowing, warm and inclusive community of opportunity conveyed by the governor and the mayor.

The most intense experience one gets in downtown Seattle is the massive, grotesque problem of homelessness.

The omnipresence of homeless individuals in Seattle's central district is overwhelming. And one cannot escape a feeling of incongruity by the proximity of these homeless to fancy downtown restaurants.

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Forbes Magazine reports the Seattle/King County area has the nation's third largest homeless population, after New York City and Los Angeles.

According to a recent article in the Manhattan Institute's City Journal, Seattle spends more than $1 billion annually struggling with its homeless problem, "nearly $100,000 for every homeless man, woman, and child in King County ..."

And yet, the article continues, "the crisis seems only to have deepened, with more addiction, more crime, and more tent encampments in residential neighborhoods. By any measure, the city's efforts are not working."

The author, Christopher Rufo, a fellow at the Seattle-based Center for Wealth, Poverty & Morality at the Discovery Institute, surveys what he calls the "ideological power centers" driving the discussions in Seattle about how to deal with their homeless.

Not surprisingly, they are all on the left, and, of course, one socialist city councilwoman explains it as "how deeply dysfunctional capitalism is." Seattle-based corporations such as Amazon, Microsoft, Starbucks and Boeing, in her analysis, "drive up housing prices, and push the working class toward poverty and despair -- and, too often, onto the streets."

The irony of this distorted analysis lies in tying it to the immigration crisis. Those massing on our southern border, trying to gain entry to our country, are pouring out from dysfunctional socialist Central American countries like Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua. Capitalism and economic freedom are the answer, not the problem.

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Rufo gets to the heart of the matter, pointing out that "homelessness is a product of disaffiliation. ... As family and community bonds weaken, our most vulnerable citizens fall victim to the addiction, mental illness, isolation, poverty, and despair that almost always precipitate the final slide into homelessness."

We should appreciate that along with the disintegration of our core social institutions such as family and community is the unraveling of our country itself.

It is this very fundamental crisis, the disintegration of the institution we call the United States of America, that President Trump has recognized and is working hard to remedy.

We must restore the integrity of our national institutions and strengthen the borders that contain and protect our country.

We ought to be glad to have a president who understands our real problem and has the courage for bold action.

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