SANCTUARY CITIES: SPLITTING UP FAMILIES

photo credit: xomiele Protesters via photopin (license)

I don’t like how conservatives are painted as meanies who want to break up families. That’s a set up. That’s like, “When did you stop beating your wife?” Conservatives didn’t force anyone over the border illegally or force anyone to overstay a visa. No one is thrilled at the idea of splitting up families, but that’s not the only criterion in play.

Every single person who is here illegally is here because either: 1) the person made the conscious choice to flout our laws; or 2) the person’s parents (or grandparents) made the conscious choice to flout our laws. Either way, this all started with a bad decision. As a parent, I get that parents will go to extreme lengths for their kids, like giving them a chance to be raised in the United States. As a parent, I also get that I’m accountable for my decisions, even if they end up hurting my kids. As a parent, I resent holding my children accountable to the rule of law when I can’t explain to them why certain other people aren’t held accountable.

If the cookie had crumbled a different way and we were under a Clinton administration, it might never have been an issue. But we’re under a Trump administration, which came to power in large measure because of Donald Trump’s tough stance on deporting illegal immigrants. It is what it is. Families that include people who have no legal right to be here have some choices to make. Only they know which choices are optimal in their situation. However. If they make another bad, i.e., unlawful, decision, they’re accountable for how it turns out.

Meanwhile 80 percent of Americans believe cities that arrest illegal immigrants for crimes should be required to turn them over to immigration authorities. Some of that 80 percent, including myself, are tired of hearing only about the pain of illegal immigrants’ families being split up by deportation. Only since President Trump took office have I heard anything (from the White House) about the pain American families feel when they are split up by an illegal immigrant’s criminal action.

The number of illegal immigrants who kill Americans is irrelevant. The number of Americans killed by illegal immigrants is irrelevant. It isn’t a numbers game. The issue with Americans killed by illegal immigrants is that it’s avoidable. When an American kills another American, it’s tragic, but it’s life. When an illegal alien who could have been deported kills an American, it’s outrageous.

We know that sanctuary cities are magnets for criminal illegal aliens. They all know if they can just get to San Francisco, or Chicago, or Miami, they’re shielded from deportation. The illegal immigrant who murdered Kate Steinle said he deliberately came to San Francisco because he knew it was a sanctuary city. Shielding illegal immigrants from arrest and deportation makes a jurisdiction more attractive to illegal immigrants. Especially criminal illegal immigrants because they have the most to hide. You would have to suspend all common sense to believe otherwise.

Sanctuary cities don’t just protect criminal illegal aliens. Without sanctuary cities we would deport more aliens who have never been involved in the criminal justice system. They might be very nice people, but that doesn’t make them “law-abiding.” There’s no such thing as a “law abiding” illegal immigrant. The word “illegal” is the clue. There is evidence that illegal immigration has devastating effect on low-wage earners with whom they compete for jobs. Black men are over-represented in low-wage occupations, like building cleaning and maintenance, food service and preparation, and construction. Don’t we as a society have an obligation to black male citizens before non-citizens of any kind?

There is only one compelling reason to consider supporting sanctuary cities and that is the impact they have on state and local law enforcement. Police officers and sheriffs leave their homes every day not knowing if they will be lucky enough to return; every traffic stop could result in their death. They carry the stress of split-second decisions that will be raked over the coals ad nauseam if a civilian is injured or killed. I couldn’t do the job. Could you? If law enforcement says they support sanctuary cities because it makes their jobs easier, I’m listening. However. To hear a prominent sheriff tell it, they’ve got it all backwards.

In his speech at CPAC, Sheriff David Clark of Milwaukee, Wisconsin said:

“Sanctuary cities provide cover, if you will, for criminal illegal aliens to continue to prey on not only law-abiding people, but also illegal immigrants in this country and here’s why they’re able to do that with impunity. If you’re a criminal illegal alien and you rape, rob, whatever another illegal alien in this country, it’s less likely they’re going to report that because they don’t want to be discovered to be in the country themselves. So we have a lot of under-reporting and unreported serious crimes in America because of sanctuary cities.”

This would certainly go a long way in explaining why sanctuary cities are reported to have less crime. According to Sheriff Clark, there isn’t less crime. There’s less reported crime. He seems to infer there is more crime in sanctuary cities because they make it easier for criminals to operate.

You will often hear that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than people born in the United States, but it’s not true. Love her or hate her, nobody researches like Ann Coulter. ¡Adios, America! (which I’ve read and recommend) breaks down the real facts behind the “alternative facts.” She appeared on Tucker Carlson Tonight and explained the discrepancy (at 3:00).*

Coulter: We are getting fake news. We’re getting it constantly. “In fact, many studies show immigrants commit less crime than natives.” No, it doesn’t. No, it doesn’t. No, it doesn’t. That’s an absolute lie. What these phony studies do, and they’re all hidden behind pay walls on the Internet, so I actually had to pay at some point to read and get to find out what they’re doing…

Carlson: That’s one of the most commonly repeated talking points.

Coulter: It’s absolutely a lie. … The studies that allegedly show this do not compare immigrants to “Americans.” They compare immigrants to Americans who have been convicted of a serious offense.

Sanctuary jurisdictions have a legitimate case against being “commandeered” by the federal government to enforce federal immigration law and especially to expend their own resources doing so. The federal government has power over the states only insofar as the states have granted such power to it (federalism) and the states have never relinquished their power over local policing. At the same time, The People have never relinquished their power over any aspect of state or federal government that was, after all, set up of the people, by the people, and for the people.

If 80 percent of Americans object to sanctuary cities, there is a very American way to eliminate them. Vote for elected leaders who represent the will of the people.


*I love a good challenge, and I was accused of “broad, unsupported generalizations” in this piece, so I offer a little more support.

In Coulter’s book, she discusses the difficulty of obtaining accurate stats on immigrant crime from the government. For example, the 1990 census records 7.4 million foreign born Hispanics, 70 percent of which are listed as “Alien.” So in 1990, there were approximately 5 million immigrants from Hispanic countries living in the United States, some of whom were incarcerated.

Table 5-6 of the DOJ’s 1991 report on correctional populations in the United States “Prisoners under State or Federal jurisdiction, by race, 1991” is useful only if it classifies Hispanics in the same way as the census, but it doesn’t. At the bottom of the table is a note that 19 of the states reported Hispanic prisoners under “unknown race,” New York included all Hispanic inmates under “White,” and Louisiana and Tennessee reported persons whose race was neither black nor white under “other race.”

So whereas we can deduce the number of Hispanic immigrants from the census, we have no idea from the DOJ report how many inmates classified as “White,” “unknown race,” or “other race” were born in Hispanic countries, i.e., we have no idea how many Hispanic immigrants were incarcerated. It’s a little difficult to compare rates of immigrant crime vs. native born crime when the numbers are stacked.

The most accurate nationality stats are maintained by prisons because prisons have a vital need to control rival gang activity. In a 2008 report “The Impact of Foreign-Born Inmates on the New York State Department of Correctional Services,” a total of 124 nationalities were documented. Seventy-four percent of the foreign-born inmates came from just ten countries. Sixty-one percent of foreign-born inmates came from one of six countries: Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Mexico, Cuba, Guyana, and Trinidad & Tobago.

Before 1996, foreign-born inmates and native-born inmates were equally likely to have been convicted of a violent felony offense. In 2007, 70 percent of the foreign-born inmates were convicted of a violent felony offense as compared to 56 percent of native-born inmates. The percentage of foreign-born inmates committed for class A felonies (28 percent) was double the percentage of native-born inmates sentenced for the same crimes (14 percent). The report concluded:

“Consequently, foreign-born inmates are currently more likely to be convicted of violent felony offenses and more serious felonies than inmates born in United States.” 

There will be some who argue that foreign-born individuals are more likely to be arrested and convicted of the same crimes than native-born individuals, but if that were the case, we would have seen discrepancies in 1996 as well.

Very few of us want to or have the time to fact-check all of these statistics ourselves. For expediency’s sake, we have to find a source or sources we trust to present verified facts. Like I said, love her or hate her, nobody researches like Ann Coulter. My money’s on her facts, which, as I’ve shown above, check out pretty well.