The Center for American Progress (CAP), a Washington, D.C., think tank Hillary Clinton’s former campaign manager John Podesta founded, has released a new report that puts the total of sanctuary cities and counties at about 600, roughly twice previous estimates.
Since President Donald Trump’s inauguration, the mayors of the nation’s largest sanctuary cities, including Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco, have taken more insolent stances to defend harboring criminals. Mayors Eric Garcetti, Rahm Emanuel and Ed Lee insist that regardless of what measures the Trump administration may take, such as denying the cities federal dollars, their sanctuary status will remain inviolate. Acting on their own authority and in defiance of federal law, the 600 cities, and several states including California, will not cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to detain criminals for eventual removal.
The very concept of criminal alien sanctuaries has infuriated citizens since the bad idea first took hold. A brief history of the sanctuary city movement shows that, appropriately enough, Berkeley, Calif., was the first to pass a sanctuary resolution back in 1971. In 1979, Los Angeles followed with its controversial Special Order 40 that prohibited police officers from asking those they arrest about their immigration status. San Francisco, where seven-time convicted felon and five-time deported alien Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez murdered Kate Steinle, added its name to the sanctuary list in 1989. Although the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act specifically banned sanctuaries, such municipalities have mushroomed in total since President Clinton signed the legislation.
Some mayors have made unhinged comments in self-defense. In his reaction to President Trump’s January executive order that directed the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice to defund sanctuary cities, Middletown, Conn., Mayor Dan Drew immediately declared his city a sanctuary and said, “We don’t just take orders from the President of the United States. It won’t work that way.” Let Drew’s statement sink in: the mayor of Middletown (population 48,000) told the U.S. president to fly a kite, and expects that his insult will impress his constituents.
How Drew, Garcetti, Emanuel and Lee, along with other sanctuary advocates, will justify the bad trade-off for what CAP estimates will be an aggregate $870 million loss in federal law enforcement funding in exchange for shielding dangerous aliens is unclear. Los Angeles County, for example, has more than 10 million residents. Of those, about 1 million are aliens. The remaining 9 million citizens and legal permanent residents will be harshly critical of losing funds that would otherwise go towards public safety and economic/community development programs. California, designated a sanctuary state and already facing a $1.5 billion deficit, risks losing $240 million.
Sanctuary cities mock federal laws. Setting criminal aliens free, which sanctuary mayors approve of, guarantees more rapes, robberies, drug dealing and murders. A 2015 Center for Immigration Studies report showed that of 8,000 criminal aliens released during an eight-month period, 1,687 re-offended, were arrested 4,298 times and accumulated 7,491 new charges.
Americans overwhelmingly oppose sanctuary cities. A Harvard-Harris poll taken last month found that 80 percent of voters agreed that local authorities should be compelled to obey federal law and to report criminal aliens to ICE, a rare example of unity in a nation otherwise divided by President Trump’s immigration agenda.
— Joe Guzzardi
Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @joeguzzardi19.