With D-Day looming for Arizona’s new immigration law, legal eagles are pulling Sanctuary City laws into focus on the issue of the White House’s legal action against the State of Arizona.
Unbeknown to many in the discussion on illegal immigrants; a discussion that has taken on heated political views beyond the reality of the problem, there are a large number of cities around the country (and in Arizona) that have adopted legal ordinances called “Sanctuary Policies” to circumvent the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, which requires local governments to cooperate with Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) when detecting illegal immigration situations.
Generally, sanctuary policies instruct city employees not to notify the federal government of the presence of illegal aliens living in their communities. The policies sometimes and in some geographic locales end the distinction between legal and illegal immigration–so illegal aliens often benefit from city services too, which seems to be the nucleus of the problem for some. Yet for others it is a criminal problem, magnified by the supply and demand of illegal drugs and gangs.
In 2004 The Governor of Maine instituted an Executive Order entitled “An Order Concerning Access to State Services By All Entitled Maine Residents,” in 2004. The Order limits state employee ability to report the presence of illegal aliens, which some people claim has resulted in many illegal aliens migrating to Maine seeking public benefits and valid Maine drivers licenses which can be used to drive in other states.
Gavin Newsom, the mayor of San Francisco, California, on April, 2008 publicized the fact that San Francisco is a sanctuary for illegal aliens. Here is Mayor Newsom’s official press release for the San Francisco’s Sanctuary City Outreach Program.
Many issues surround the Immigration Policies such as organized crime, job availability and illegal abuse of benefits, medical and educational programs. But there is also a set of reasons circling around political contributions and support at election time; complacency, ignorance, or “don’t care” attitudes; and purposeful resistance to existing US immigration laws based upon an open-border political philosophy that may serve certain economic, political, or ethnocentric interests.
Searching through many sources and websites, the classification of Sanctuary Cities becomes a little vague and confusing, but I do wonder about the State of Arizona’s motives for this new law, if I notice that 4 of the largest metropolitan areas in that state, Phoenix-Tucson-Mesa-and Chandler are on the official list of cities that have a sanctuary policy against illegal immigrants.
That most of California is on that same list and that Miami is also on that list, as are most large metropolitan cities in the US, cannot be too hard to figure out, considering the interwoven powers of cultures. Another main consideration is of course the law enforcement availability and territorial discrepancies between city, county, state and federal law enforcement. Who does what and who coordinates and supervises?
I can only wish wisdom upon those who are seeking elected office in November, because the issues and interests at stake with this issue alone are far more complicated than a simple state law to be enforced by a financially restrained police force.
A workable diagnosis of the problem may lead to divide causal illegal immigration relationships into the realms of crime, economy, social benefits, human relations and geographical dependencies.
Throwing all these potential forms of illegal immigration into one big melting pot and try to enforce it by the power of a gun is akin to federal suicide in my opinion. If you don’t believe me than check out this list of Sanctuary Cities and imagine the enormous powers they represent against something like the Immigration Law that goes into effect in Arizona tomorrow.
I hope wisdom prevails.