ACRU

The Top Five Reasons to Oppose “Sanctuary Cities”

Reason No. 5: Because sanctuary cities facilitate and encourage illegal immigration, they are unfair to legal immigrants, who waited in line, followed the rules and showed respect for the law.

Reason No. 4: Sanctuary cities impose costs on their residents — citizens and legal immigrants — that they shouldn’t have to bear. Tax dollars that ought properly to benefit the people who paid them go instead to underwrite hospital, police, prison and education services for those who are not entitled to be here in the first place.

Reason No. 3: Sanctuary cities promote crime and thus jeopardize our citizens. The Los Angeles Times recently reported on a mind-boggling 2005 study by the Government Accountability Office. The study examined the cases of over 55,000 illegal immigrants incarcerated in federal, state and local facilities. It found that they had been previously arrested an average of eight times each, that roughly half had been convicted of a felony, and a fifth had been arrested for a drug offense. Many had also been convicted of violent crimes.

Our citizens and legal immigrants deserve better than that — a good deal better. The paramount civil right is the right to live in one’s own neighborhood and community in peace and safety. Why do liberal organizations like the ACLU turn their back on that right to carry water for lawbreakers?

Reason No. 2: Sanctuary cites burden and endanger the police. In litigation being prepared to challenge the oldest of the sanctuary cities, Los Angeles, the attorney undertaking the case free of charge said that one of the reasons he offered his services was, as the L.A. Times reported, “‘to help out police officers so they don’t have to put their lives on the line repeatedly re-arrestingdrug offenders who should have been deported the first time.'” As the Times further noted, “One veteran LAPD officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of fear of punishment, said….that he [and other officers] thought the suit was a good idea….”‘We are having a revolving door out there in terms of people we arrest for drug offenses who are in this country illigally,'” he said.

Reason No. 1: Sanctuary cities breed disrespect for the rule of law. When the police, of all people, are told by politicians running the city to look the other way at illegal immigraton, what message does that send? If elected officials pretending to be leaders can turn their backs on laws they dislike, where does that “principle” stop? Are such leaders also free to disregard federal laws against heroin and LSD (for example), on the theory that drug penalties are too harsh and these drugs have “mind-expanding” qualities? And after the drug laws are tossed overboard, what next?

Democratic self-government presupposes fidelity to law, even when one disagrees with it. Were it otherwise, self-government would dissolve into anarchy. All are free to attempt to change the law by persuasion and argument — in other words, by making their case to the electorate. But they are not free to thumb their nose at the law, much less to tell police officers that they must follow the same grossly irresponsible, and dangerous, path.