States are Cracking Down on ‘Sanctuary Cities’Posted: October 15, 2015
Alan Gomez States around the country are on the verge of passing laws to crack down on “sanctuary cities” that protect undocumented immigrants from being deported.
The efforts are a broad response to the July death of Kathryn Steinle, the San Francisco woman shot by an undocumented immigrant who had been released from a local jail instead of handed over to federal immigration officials.
Her death, publicized by Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump and others, brought so-called sanctuary cities into the national spotlight, prompting politicians in Congress, state legislatures and local governments to call for sweeping changes. The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill in July cracking down on those cities, and the Senate is scheduled to take up the bill next week.
Now, after three months of hearings and intense debate, the first state law targeting sanctuary cities is about to be signed into law in North Carolina. State Rep. George Cleveland, a Republican from Jacksonville, N.C., has been trying to pass laws combating illegal immigration for a decade. He said it took Steinle’s death to get enough legislators on board to pass his bill, which Republican Gov. Pat McCrory is likely to sign into law this month.
“Everyone says, ‘It’s a federal government problem.’ No, it isn’t. The federal government is not doing its job, so it’s our problem,” Cleveland said. “We’ve become so multiculturalist that we don’t have the common sense to see that we’re ruining our country. Instead, we let cities pat (undocumented immigrants) on the back and here we are.”
Defenders of sanctuary cities worry about a national overreaction to the shooting at popular Pier 14 in San Francisco’s Embarcadero district. Sam Liccardo, Democratic mayor of nearby San Jose, said communities like his should use the shooting as an opportunity to review their sanctuary policies. He worries that in the rush to respond to Steinle’s death, cities could pass extreme laws that hurt all immigrants.
“Innovative regions of the world depend on ambitious, creative people who come from other parts of the world to contribute to our economy,” said Liccardo, a former prosecutor whose city is in the heart of Silicon Valley. “I think cities that become viewed as hostile toward immigrants will ultimately be forced to rethink their approach.”
Sanctuary cities started popping up around the country in recent years in response to a federal program that uses local law enforcement to help identify undocumented immigrants living in the country….(read more)