Government & Politics

A Nation of Laws — or Sanctuary Cities?

Perhaps no problem will define America's future more succinctly.

Arnold Ahlert · Mar. 27, 2017

“Some 500 ‘sanctuary’ cities and counties have decided for political reasons that federal immigration law does not fully apply within their jurisdictions. They have done so with impunity, believing that illegal immigration is a winning political issue given changing demography. In a way, they have already legally seceded from the union and provided other cities with a model of how to ignore any federal law they do not like.” —Victor Davis Hanson

For the moment, forget ObamaCare repeal and replace, tax reform, the war on terror, the budget and a host of other issues the nation has to deal with in the coming months and years. Nothing will define America’s future more succinctly than how we address the sanctuary city/county/church/university, etc. phenomenon.

Going forward, we will either be a nation where the Rule of Law is paramount — or one where a Cloward-Piven, “crash the system” de facto anarchy reigns supreme. And despite all the obfuscating by a corrupt media, both political parties, and a host of self-interested constituencies, America, as they say in high-stakes poker, is “all in” — one way or the other.

There are those who speak of a “sensible” middle ground, a conversation that inevitably begins with the assertion that one who has snuck across the border or overstayed one’s visa should not otherwise be held accountable for such a “minor” transgression if they have otherwise behaved in an acceptable manner.

At least that was the opening gambit. As Hanson notes, immigration law has been “redefined as not committing additional crimes while otherwise violating immigration law,” then it was “watered down further to allow entering and residing illegally if not committing ‘serious’ crimes. Now,” he adds, “the adjective ‘serious’ is being redefined as something that does not lead to too many deportations.”

As bankrupt as this worldview is with regard to the Rule of Law and the well-being of Americans, it nonetheless has its defenders. “As a survey by the Cato Institute shows, immigrants — both legal and illegal — are less likely to be incarcerated than native-born Americans,” writes Mona Charen, who further insists “illegal immigrants are 44 percent less likely to be incarcerated than native-born Americans. Legal immigrants are 69 percent less likely to be jailed than natives. White native-born Americans are more likely to be imprisoned than black immigrants, legal or illegal.”

Like so many of her fellow-travelers, Charen likes to mix together legal immigrants and illegal aliens, as if the distinction between the two is inconsequential. Nothing could be further from the truth. It takes considerable time and effort to become a legal immigrant and/or an American citizen, and those who would conflate that process with border-busting or visa-overstaying — employing the rhetoric of “comprehensive immigration reform,” or a “pathway to citizenship to do so — make an utter mockery of law-abiding immigrants.

Even worse, such conflation is promoted as "compassion.” And as night follows day, those who would resist such calculated chicanery are bigots, xenophobes. Or as Charen implies, racist as well.

The other part the agenda she and others like her are promoting is even more outrageous: Americans are supposed to take comfort in the idea that immigrants, again both legal and illegal, are less likely to be criminals than native Americans.

Why? Leaving aside legal immigrants who should actually be counted with native Americans in that both groups have a right to be here, what comfort is to be found in lower rates of illegal alien criminality — criminality that includes aggravated assault, robbery, rape and murder — when strict immigration enforcement would make the overwhelming majority of those crimes wholly preventable?

What Charen and her fellow travelers are really advocating is a tradeoff whereby Americans abide “acceptable” levels of assault, robbery, rape, murder, so that those whose “only crime” is living here illegally can stay.

What levels? A 2015 report from the Migration Policy Institute reveals more than 820,000 of the estimated 11 million illegal aliens residing United States had criminal convictions. That number included 300,000 felony convictions, and 390,000 serious misdemeanors that necessitated incarceration for 90 days or longer.

Should Americans accept 100,000 felonies committed by people who don’t belong here, Ms. Charen? How about 50,000?

How about a single rape? Joe Montano, 17, and Sanchez Milian, 18, were among tens of thousands of people who illegally breached the U.S.-Mexico border in 2016. Both allegedly raped a 14-year-old girl in a high school bathroom in Montgomery County which “is stoking anger but having little effect on local politicians committed to so-called ‘sanctuary’ policies,” Fox News reports.

Jack Smith, superintendent of Montgomery County Public Schools, reveals the twisted priorities arising from those policies. “This is not an issue that we’re going to move to the political level, although a lot of people want to do it,” he declared.

In short, one rape is “anecdotal,” thus it’s politically unrepresentative.

What is representative? Progressives are attempting to force-feed America amnesty, one incremental step after another.

Or more accurately, amnesty again. The passage of the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act was all about promises that the unambiguous amnesty given to 2.7 million illegals 31 years ago would be the last time America granted such a concession, in return for a crackdown on businesses that hired illegals, and border control.

A business crackdown and border control that never happened.

In other words, the Left flat out lied, a reality totally in alignment with their desire to get what they want — by any means necessary.

Sanctuary cities, campuses, etc. epitomize by any means necessary. As far as the Left is concerned federal law is irrelevant, they’re going to do what they want — and they dare someone to stop them.

It’s time to accept that dare. The DOJ needs to file a series of lawsuits giving the courts the opportunity to clarify — again — that immigration law is controlled by the feds. Barack Obama’s DOJ did it to stop states like Arizona and South Carolina from enforcing federal immigration laws because the Obama administration embraced de facto amnesty. It’s time U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions flipped that equation on its head.

Congress? In addition to withholding federal funds from sanctuary entities, Congress should consider passing a bill making state and local politicians that support sanctuary policies criminally and civilly liable for any crimes committed by illegals shielded by those policies. The prospect of jail and or financial ruin will undoubtedly go a long way toward challenging the widespread lawlessness that has been normalized by leftist politicians and their media enablers.

Widespread lawlessness that represents the greatest threat to our nation since the Civil War.

As Hanson warns us, “When the law is what we say it is, or what we want it to be, there is no law. And when there is no law, there is not much left but something resembling Russia, Somalia, or Venezuela.”

Leftists believe their “superior” worldview entitles them to ignore laws they don’t like. It’s time to disabuse them of that contemptible notion — in no uncertain terms.

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