Commentary: Sanctuary City Here?
By George Miller
Does the name Jamiel Shaw, Jr. mean anything to you? How about Kate Steinle? No? Then how about Brian A. Terry? These are just three fine Americans killed by illegal alien (that is the legal term) felons. Many more were killed this way, or injured, robbed, raped and more. The numbers run into many thousands. People here illegally have also improperly taken resources, such as hospital treatment, government benefits and more. This happens mainly because weak politicians lack the will or integrity to ensure that our immigration laws are enforced.
Multiple US jurisdictions are rebelling against US immigration laws, while far more want to enforce them. The landslide electoral victory by Donald Trump was fueled in large part by frustration over unenforced immigration laws and the resulting problems. In California especially, there is a lot of sentiment to declare “sanctuary city,” even “sanctuary state” status, a move that could be a very big mistake.
For example, Oxnard, Ventura County’s largest city, with over 200,000 people, is one of quite a few with many foreign-born people and first generation children of immigrants. Many of the former are here illegally. Yet many others have obtained naturalization, residential or work permits legally. There has been recent talk among influential people of declaring Oxnard a Sanctuary City. It already has most attributes of one,
According to the law, only people born under the jurisdiction of the United States, naturalized, or on current visas, may be here legally. This rule has been often been breached, for multiple reasons: people migrating here illegally as economic or political refugees, families attempting to reunite, visa overstays, administrative inability or unwillingness to enforce laws, even criminal or terrorist activity.
However, most of these people would not be here if the de facto powers that be didn’t want them to, for economic, personal or political reasons. So many are here with tacit, extralegal approval.
The borders were wider open at one time, when the U.S. needed millions of people to settle the land, build, defend and grow the nation. With over 320 million people now, we are the third most populous nation in the world, with by far the most generous immigration policies, taking in many more immigrants than most countries combined. Over the years, more restrictions were enacted, as there was less need for labor, more security concerns, more social problems and higher costs of accommodating immigrants who put a heavy load on costly social services. In fact, as the social services offered grew, it attracted different sorts of people.
To be sure, the majority of people immigrating to the US are here for freedom and opportunity to work and assimilate. But an unprecedented number are placing heavy loads on what may be an unsustainable social support system, especially in California. It is no surprise that California has nearly a third of the welfare cases in the nation. The nation is broke and in debt to the tune of $21,000,000,000,000.00+ (TRILLION), with unfunded liabilities north of $120,000,000,000,000.00, adding a trillion a year to the debt and who knows how much to unfunded amounts annually. The state is in far worse shape than acknowledged. So, we can’t afford it.
An increasing number seem to reject assimilation, preferring “diversity,” even rejecting US ways, some even wanting to end US sovereignty over our state of California. This is unacceptable to the vast majority of US Citizens.
Why flouting immigration law is a very poor idea
Leading politicians and media outlets are advocating direct violation or nonsupport of multiple federal immigration and some criminal laws. These laws were passed for good reasons and are the will of the People and of Congress. While the Tenth Amendment envisions ignoring unconstitutional laws, these laws are not only constitutional, but have been upheld again and again.
Violating them not only harms the people of California and the minor jurisdictions participating in this lawlessness, but the nation at large, since there is largely unimpeded movement of people among the states and since the nation at large must bear some of the costs and hazards of immigration lawlessness.
In addition, declarations of Sanctuary City will attract far more unfavorable federal attention than jurisdictions need, want or even are able to deal with. Defunding is one threat we may have to deal with. Even arrests of officials flouting the law are conceivable.
Why flouting immigration law is bad for immigrants
The problems described thus far also impact legal immigrants. They have to put up with higher crime which often most impacts the areas where they live. But, residents of cities such as Oxnard, including immigrants, should consider local crime levels now and also the burden of more crowded hospitals, higher insurance premiums, higher taxes, stressed out schools, downward pressure on wages, etc. Even Cesar Chavez took note of these. So, legal immigrants have pretty much the same issues as the population in general. The main difference is that more of them tend to have friends and relatives who might be affected by immigration law enforcement. A few years back, I was in a discussion group on immigration. One of the guys from the National Hispanic Republican group said to me: “I agree with immigration laws, but I don’t want my grandmother deported.” That should be addressed.
So, what should be done?
Although “official” estimates of illegal aliens are usually 11 million people, that number hasn’t changed in ten years, The real numbers are likely far higher. We believe that an abrupt, massive enforcement of laws on the books on that scale could be catastrophic, because of the magnitude of social and economic disruption, pain and suffering, even political backlash.
The Trump administration evidently understands and agrees with that, since their focus is on preventing new and recent illegal entries and deporting criminal illegal aliens. They are not trying to deport the Valdez family which came here illegally, otherwise follows the law, has been here for 30 years, has birthed and raised kids, works, owns a home, pays its taxes and wants to be American.
– Deport criminal illegal aliens. All of them. Quickly.
– Stop new illegal entries.
– Enforce action on expired visas.
– Enforce labor laws.
– Strengthen vetting.
– End benefits for illegal aliens.
– Streamline work permits for the benefit of employers and entrants alike.
– Consider, encourage applications by qualified and desirable people for residency and Citizenship, from people doing it legally. Streamline and clearly communicate policies and procedures for doing it- at least as clearly as the Mexican govt. has instructed people on how to circumvent our laws.
Congress did attempt an immigration reform bill a few years back, but it was a big overreach, slapped down hard by the House of Representatives and could never pass now. Something more reasonable is needed.
Declaring sanctuary city status would be like waving a red flag at federal authorities. It could exact an overly high price for the psychic rewards of proving Progressive true-believer status. Especially for cities which are already de facto sanctuaries. And Mayor, no one is fooled if you instead call it a “Safe City.” If you want a safe city, please get serious about supporting your police department in fighting crime and pressure our representatives in Sacramento to stop their insanity.
The local Ventura County Progressive MSM, The Star, is trial-ballooning “Sanctuary City” status for Oxnard. Time to send a message?
Council Member Bryan MacDonald firstname.lastname@example.org,
Council Member Bert Perello email@example.com
Police Chief Scott Whitney firstname.lastname@example.org
County Sheriff Geoff Dean says he cooperates with ICE.
George Miller is Publisher of CitizensJournal.us and a “retired” operations management consultant residing in Oxnard