USA Today: Sanctuary Cities 'Violates Common Sense'

Matt Vespa
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Posted: Jul 17, 2015 8:30 AM
USA Today: Sanctuary Cities 'Violates Common Sense'

Well, it’s great to hear that at least some publications are saying that we should probably rethink the sanctuary city policy. Leah has all of them right here. In light of the tragic death of Kate Steinle, who was killed by an illegal immigrant, USA Today’s editorial board said that the policy “violates common sense.”

San Francisco is one of nearly 300 cities and counties across the country with sanctuary laws or policies aimed at separating federal immigration enforcement from local policing, in order to build trust between immigrant communities and local police. The reasoning goes like this: If immigrants, including millions of undocumented ones, see local police officers as a tool for deportation, they will not report crimes or come forward as witnesses, even when they are victims, and public safely will suffer.

In that context, there's a certain logic to the "sanctuary" idea, but not when carried to extremes. Sanctuary policies set by cities, counties and states differ from place to place, but San Francisco's violates all common sense. Protecting a hard-working undocumented immigrant charged with a misdemeanor is one thing. Putting a long-term felon and serial illegal entrant on the street is the antithesis of ensuring public safety.

That's especially true when there is a more reasonable approach, one used, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, by many police departments under sanctuary laws. Officers pick up the phone to call immigration when they plan to release potentially dangerous immigrants wanted for deportation. Immigration comes to pick them up.

Kathryn Steinle's death ought to be a cause for sober reevaluation of sanctuary policies. Without a cease-fire and a working agreement in this war that has pitted local law enforcement against federal immigration authorities, there will be more innocent casualties.

Now, there has been some reaction to this incident from Congress and the 2016 presidential field. Donald Trump has made illegal immigration a cornerstone of his 2016 campaign, and the Steinle tragedy has only bolstered his narrative that the border is insecure and out of control. Granted, he’s not wrong on that issue. We don’t know how secure the border is; what we do know is that the enforcement of the rule of law regarding immigration policy is explicitly absent. That is something to be angry about, especially since illegal aliens are reportedly eligible for back tax refunds. Regarding President Obama’s executive actions on immigration, a federal judge has tied up those orders in the courts (for now). Nevertheless, the rule of law is arguably being cannibalized for political gain. No–that’s absolutely the truth!

At the same time, I hope more serious candidates are able to take charge of this issue and bring some common sense back into discussion. Fox News’ Charles Krauthammer aptly noted that Trump is a “waste of time,” given that his campaign is grounded in “know-nothing xenophobia.” Trump did say that illegal immigrants are bringing in “tremendous infectious diseases across the border.” If he’s referring to the measles outbreak, that was actually caused by anti-vaccine bastion of wealthy white liberals from Marin County, California.

In Washington, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson was at a loss regarding the news about Kate Steinle; he didn’t even know whom she was when asked by Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH). Whereas House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said that sanctuary cities aren’t to blame. It’s Congressional inaction on immigration:

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Thursday defended so-called sanctuary cities, even after the shooting death of a San Francisco woman at the hands of an illegal immigrant set free under the policy.

While the Department of Homeland Security has blamed San Francisco's policy for that death, Pelosi said she blames Congress for failing to pass immigration reform.

"I support the sanctuary" policy, said Pelosi, a Democrat who represents San Francisco. She was referring to a broad policy implemented by some local governments that rejects federal immigration laws. In San Francisco's case, the city refused to cooperate with federal requests to keep the shooter detained, or to inform the government once he was released.

[…]

Pelosi said Congress should have passed a comprehensive bill addressing illegal immigration, "which is the answer to many of the questions on this subject."

(H/T Ed Morrissey)