Sanctuary cities and citizenship
New Trump policies target illegal immigration by increasing deportations
To some people, like Arizona’s Pinal County Sheriff Paul Lamb, whom a Fox News article said is opposed to sanctuary cities, sanctuary cities prevent illegal criminals from being deported back to their home country.
To people like Seth Stodder, who worked for both the Bush and Obama administrations dealing with border security, sanctuary cities are necessary in order to protect law-abiding immigrants from deportation.
A sanctuary city is a city or county where the local police can refuse to hand an illegal immigrant in police custody over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents for deportation.
With the new Trump administration, U.S. immigration policies have received a transformation and saw the end of Barack Obama’s Priority Enforcement Program that prioritized the removal of convicted felons and partnered with local police to apprehend them.
Instead Stodder wrote in Politico that President Trump’s administration renewed an older program that could lead to the deportation of illegal immigrants who have never committed a crime in the U.S. and may even have children who are U.S. citizens.
Some people are concerned sanctuary cities will offer refuge to illegal immigrants with a criminal record and multiple felonies.
Sanctuary cities allow for the police to refuse handing over an undocumented immigrant responsible for serious crimes to ICE agents for deportation.
Both CNN and Politico cite a case in San Francisco where an illegal immigrant with a past record recently released from jail killed a young woman named Kate Steinle.
However, Trump’s executive order, which the Politico article says, “directs DHS to execute ‘the immigration laws of the United States against all illegal aliens’ – not just criminals,” sounds like it could do more harm than good.
I am not supporting illegal immigration, but separating families, some of whom have lived in the U.S. for years, contribute to the community and have never broken the law, could be a traumatic experience for young children.
Those children one day might turn to crime or other illegal activities without the guidance of the parents from whom they were separated.
Furthermore, Stodder added that if police sought to detain and deport every illegal immigrant, law-abiding immigrants might not report crimes or want to work with the police to find people who committed crimes because the police might detain them as well.
A law-abiding illegal alien might know of the whereabouts of another illegal alien who had committed a felony, but he would be reluctant to share the information with the police for fear of deportation.
While there is no easy answer to illegal immigration in America, working out a new policy that would work to target criminals while working with immigrants who illegally entered the country due to conflict and persecution to legally become American citizens might be a wiser course of action.
Depiero is an opinion writer.