Alexander's Column

Sanctuary Cities Are Safer?

The "sanctuary city" movement is nothing more than a pandering political charade aimed at Hispanic voters — and sanctimonious fellow leftist elites.

Mark Alexander · Mar. 15, 2017

“The policy or advantage of [immigration] taking place in a body (I mean the settling of them in a body) may be much questioned; for, by so doing, they retain the language, habits, and principles good or bad which they bring with them. Whereas by an intermixture with our people, they, or their descendants, get assimilated to our customs, measures, and laws: in a word, soon become one people.” —George Washington (1794)

My interactions with rational liberals (not always an oxymoron) sometimes provide a window into how they process “facts,” reshaping them to comport with their statist and utopian “feel-good” worldview.

I had an opportunity to engage one such lefty recently — an attorney, and who took strong exception to my characterization of so-called “sanctuary cities” as being more dangerous because they advertise immunity for illegal aliens, thus attracting more violent offenders.

Liberals tend to become insufferably sanctimonious when advocating for things as ostensibly wonderful as a “sanctuary,” but, despite all their warm and fuzzy feelings, the secret among Democratic Party leaders is that the sanctuary city movement is nothing more than a pandering political charade aimed at Hispanic voters — and sanctimonious fellow leftist elites.

The previous administration’s “immigration reform strategy” was designed to fail, because otherwise it would flood the markets of their dwindling union and blue collar constituencies with cheap immigrant labor, and the former would never tolerate the latter. Instead, the policy has always been one of smoke and mirrors: placating Hispanic voters with empty promises of blanket amnesty, while never losing a constituent by fulfilling that promise.

That notwithstanding, there are now more than 500 sanctuary cities, large and small, across the United States. That’s almost twice the number of a year ago. Not surprisingly, the growth has been driven by opposition to President Donald Trump’s commitment to enforce immigration laws. Consequently, Trump has put those cities on notice, threatening to cut $2.7 billion in federal funding if they refuse to abide by the law.

So, here’s how my debate with a big-hearted but light-headed lawyer began.

Last week, a mutual friend was on his way home to our mountain community outside of Chattanooga. He stopped at a hardware store for some supplies, and when he returned to his vehicle, he was subjected to aggravated kidnapping (at gunpoint) and robbery. A local gang thug forced my friend into his vehicle for an “ATM joyride” — after stealing the money in his wallet, he was instructed to drive to a nearby ATM and withdraw hundreds of dollars. My friend kept his calm, though, and was later released without bodily harm.

Now, my friend, a physician and man of strong faith who had no option to fend off the armed assailant, told the gang member at the end of the ordeal as the offender left his car, “I will be praying for you — and this story is not over.” The gang member was later arrested, and I suspect the second chapter of this story will likely be my friend’s role in leading the offender to the transformation of God’s grace — behind bars.

But the first chapter of this story — which now occurs with alarming regularity across our country — could have ended in violent tragedy.

While most gang violence in the last decade has occurred between gang members, that violence is now metastasizing into frequent assaults against citizens who have nothing to do with gangs. According to the FBI’s most recent Uniform Crime Reports (2015), there were 1,197,704 violent crimes, up 3.9% from 2014 — a trend that started several years earlier after Barack Obama initiated his war on cops.

The violence, which is erupting across the U.S., is part of Obama’s failed legacy.

For the record, my home state of Tennessee ranks near the top of conservative states. Overall, conservative principles have put our state in the lead of economic growth and freedom indexes. However, our urban centers have been subject to the same social entropy and blight that afflicts other cities under Democrat “leadership.” And the most costly measure of that blight is violent crime.

Memphis is ranked #4 on the list of most dangerous cities nationwide, and now Chattanooga is moving to the top of the ratings for violent cities with populations under 200,000.

Chattanooga’s gang violence has increased significantly in the last four years under its inept and philandering Democrat mayor, Andy Berke. Despite that increase, just ahead of the recent election Berke announced his support for the faux sanctuary city parade, which will most assuredly increase gang- and drug-related crime in our region.

On that latter assertion, the aforementioned liberal lawyer took offense, insisting that sanctuary cities are safer than other cities, and citing a study by the leftist Annenberg Public Policy Center.

Safer? Not exactly. I responded that the study primarily cited crime-rate comparison by immigrants and non-immigrant populations, not illegal aliens.

He responded with another study from the Cato Institute on immigration and crime. But this study also primarily cited crime-rate comparison by immigrants versus non-immigrant populations, not illegal aliens. In fact, the Cato study concluded with this caveat: “Note on Illegal Immigration — The public focus is on the crime rates of unauthorized or illegal immigrants. The research papers above mostly include all immigrants regardless of legal status.”

Now, I would agree with research findings that legal immigrants are less likely to commit criminal acts than some indigenous racial or ethnic groups — particularly blacks and Hispanics who’ve been enslaved by generations of leftist statist policies on what amount to urban poverty plantations – which have become the spawning grounds for gangs.

I then advised the lawyer that I wasn’t basing my conclusion about crime and sanctuary cities on political rhetoric from either end of the spectrum but on the facts — and the fact is that in almost all declared sanctuary cities, violence is growing rapidly. For example, in 2015, in one of the nation’s largest sanctuary cities, Los Angeles, violent crime was up 19.9%: homicides up 10.2%, shootings up 12.6%, rapes up 8.6%, robberies up 12.3% and aggravated assault up 27.5%.

Of course, we have covered the explosion of violent crime in the most celebrated of sanctuary cities, Chicago, under its inept Democrat mayor, Rahm Emanuel.

But these grim statistics alone don’t prove that the increase in violence is due to criminal aliens, primarily because the Obama administration intentionally scrubbed federal criminal records of data that would identify assailants as criminal aliens versus U.S. residents. But one GAO study from 2011 did sneak through, and it indicated that the percentage of criminal aliens in U.S. prisons is disproportionate to the estimated percentage of illegal aliens in America.

However, this does prove my case: I have spoken with federal and state law enforcement command line personnel across the nation — they are my first-hand sources on criminal aliens and violent crime — and they consistently make two declarations about such crimes:

  1. The perpetrators of 95% of violence in major sanctuary cities are associated with gangs and their drug networks.

  2. The most violent gang and drug networks have been infiltrated by criminal aliens.

It is no coincidence that in the nation’s largest “sanctuary city,” New York, it was announced this week that 10 of the 14 members of the MS-13 gang, who were indicted for the brutal murder of two teenage girls in neighboring Suffolk County, are criminal aliens. And among other violent crimes committed by criminal aliens this week, there were two brutal rapes of children in sanctuary cities, including a 14-year old in Montgomery County, Maryland and a 3-year old (yes, a 3-year old) in Stamford, Connecticut. Of course, most such rapes go unreported.

Finally, I asked that big-hearted lawyer to view this video message from Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones to Barack Obama, after two deputies, Danny Oliver and Michael Davis, were murdered by an illegal immigrant on Obama’s watch. He has not responded…

The deputies' widows, Jessica Davis and Susan Oliver, were in the gallery for Trump’s February address to Congress. “Their husbands,” said Trump, “were slain in the line of duty in California. They were pillars of their community. These brave men were viciously gunned down by an illegal immigrant with a criminal record and two prior deportations. Sitting with Susan is her daughter, Jenna. Jenna, I want you to know that your father was a hero, and that tonight you have the love of an entire country supporting you and praying for you.”

Notably, a colleague who recently retired after a career in both military and federal civilian law enforcement had this suggestion for political leaders refusing to enforce our nation’s immigration laws in their jurisdictions: “Any state or local government leaders inviting illegal aliens into their ‘sanctuary cities’ should lose the qualified immunity normally granted to government officials acting under color of law, thus leaving them open to civil suits from the victims (or survivors of victims) of the violent crimes committed in those jurisdictions by illegal aliens.”

Now, Trump need not threaten sanctuary cities with loss of federal funding. Just enact an executive order followed by legislation, revoking immunity from legal liability for any pandering sanctuary city politicians who ignore federal law, in order that victims of criminal alien violence can seek restitution. Those politicos will scurry for the corners!

While there are police chiefs who oppose deportation, the basis for most of those objections (those not politically motivated to appease a mayor) is concern about the increased threat to their officers resulting from interactions with offenders who are criminal aliens.

The fact is, “sanctuary cities” are only safer for gang members who are criminal aliens, especially in those cities which forbid law-abiding citizens from carrying (or even possessing) firearms for self-defense.

And a final note: There is some good news on the illegal migration from south of the border. Whether you approve of Donald Trump’s border enforcement policies or not, his commitment to enforce Rule of Law has already had a dramatic effect on illegal border crossings. According to Secretary of Homeland Security John F. Kelly, in the first month of this year, “the flow of illegal border crossings as measured by apprehensions and the prevention of inadmissible persons at our southern border dropped by 40 percent.”

Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis
Pro Deo et Libertas — 1776

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