Let me start off by saying, I was raised in a small-town community in Chesapeake, Virginia. I came to Virginia Commonwealth University to learn about other viewpoints and open my prospective on political views. Sanctuary cities is a very controversial topic in today’s news and I am here to explain my viewpoint.
There are many issues that come with supporting sanctuary cities across America. Like many cities in the United States, San Francesco, California is a sanctuary city where law enforcement is prohibited in interacting with immigration deportations.
Juan Lopez, who came to America undocumented six times, was the murderer of Katie Steinle in San Francesco, California (Hernandez, 2016). Many undocumented immigrants come to sanctuary cities for the benefit of not being confronted by law officials. This makes it easier for them to commit crimes such as rape, gang violence, theft, drugs, and others without being severely punished for their criminal behaviors. Using Katie Steinle as a reference for his stronger border policies, President Trump is also trying to make Federal Law stricter to protect American citizens from criminal immigrants (Barbash & Bever, 2017).
The crime rates involved with sanctuary cities have increased and research shows that a 57% increase in federal law enforcement would significantly decrease the crime that comes from sanctuary cities (Barbash & Bever 2017). Along with the crime and danger that come with sanctuary cities, they cost America billions of dollars. These expenses cover the costs of school, healthcare, welfare, and jobs. Almost $27 billion in federal funding have been distributed to sanctuary cities as grants and direct pay such as, schools, housing, and community development.
Sanctuary cities have specific laws that prohibit local police authority from asking questions such as their status or share information about them, which makes it easier for them to commit crimes. Local law authorities also cannot detain or deport these criminals that live within the sanctuary cities. John Culberson, a republican, said, “The local authorities have a choice; protect criminal illegal aliens that endanger their citizens or receive federal money. They can no longer do both.” (Chronicle, San Francesco, 2017) In my opinion, laws are in place for all people to abide by them. Sanctuary cities are completely disregarding local law enforcement that emphasize the role on the safety of community threats and reject federal law from interacting.
Sanctuary cities provide a “safe haven” for undocumented immigrants while legal immigrants have followed every guideline and procedure to become legalized citizens. In other words, sanctuary cities are like a slap in the face to legal immigrants who endure the long journey with no motivation or encouragement of becoming a citizen of the United States.
With this being said, there must be something done to make our community safer. There are many things that should and can be done to prevent crime rates from going up, creating a safer environment for the American people, and making it easier for immigrants to become legalized. Fighting for the citizens of America and protecting their rights and safety should be a priority as well as fighting for the safety of communities, jobs, and homes. Instead of using federal funding to help provide for undocumented immigrants, we should be using that money to provide for veterans that are homeless and any American citizen in need. Sanctuary cities are protecting illegal immigrants and putting their lives before the lives of American citizens. Making the legalization process for immigrants more accessible or easier and reducing the large time span will make a great impact on the debate against immigration. Focusing on legal immigration versus harboring undocumented immigrants will provide safer environments for everyone as well as lower costs.
Undocumented immigrants are protected by the state and local laws that allow the flow of those seeking refuge to be housed in these protected cities. Law enforcement, under the law, are not allowed to burden those within the cities, however, federal law is the only law that can impact the undocumented immigrants that commit crimes and seek protection. Fixing sanctuary cities will result in positive changes within the communities, states, and nations that are impacted by this. Understanding the risks within the community, state, and nation, rising costs, and the prohibition of local law authorities to intervene with sanctuary cities is something that needs to change. Processes in place allow for immigrants to gain legal access within the nation; these sanctuary cities neglect these processes and allow greater protection for immigrants who choose to enter the country illegally putting the lives of American citizens in danger.
Barbash, F., & Bever, L. (2017, December 1). Justice Department issues arrest warrant after jury acquits Mexican immigrant in ‘sanctuary city’ killing: The case became a major Republican talking point during the 2016 presidential campaign. Washington Post.
Chronicle, San Francisco. (2017, April 7). 4 Voices: Are sanctuary cities good for the community? Retrieved from San Francisco Chronicle: https://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/article/Are-sanctuary-cities-good-for-the-community-and-11056788.php
Hernandez, K. (2016). Santuary Cities and Crime. The University of Texas at San Antonio.