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Sanctuary laws defy the will of the American people

Updated: Feb 25

By Brian Lonergan


Last month champions of freedom around the world celebrated the 30th anniversary of the collapse of the Berlin Wall. The significance of that landmark event of the last century endures today. It is a reminder that, while totalitarianism and government-sponsored repression can still take root, the will of resilient and brave people can ultimately win.


The spirit of those courageous Germans from 1989, singing at the wall and knocking it down with sledgehammers, is alive today in America. People in unlikely places are standing up against onerous sanctuary laws that their political leaders are trying to foist upon them.


Evidence can be found in two elections last month. While Arizona is a traditional red state that is now trending purple, its second-largest city of Tucson has long been a blue stronghold. That’s why it was so surprising that its citizens soundly rejected a ballot initiative by a 71-29 margin that would have declared Tucson a sanctuary city.    


In deep-blue Sussex County, N.J., residents similarly voted by a 2-1 margin to support an initiative that would allow law enforcement to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents.

What is going on here?


It’s quite simple, really. Voters are standing up and rebelling against the propaganda they have been force-fed by politicians and the media. The dubious message has been that sanctuary laws are good for their community, that they make it safer, more welcoming and fair. It’s a classic “the emperor wears no clothes” moment. The rhetoric does not match up with what people see and hear in their own lives every day.


With a few exceptions, successful attempts to impose sanctuary laws on a community have largely come from the stroke of a pen by a governor, city council or county commissioner. Rarely is it from a groundswell of support from the voters, and for good reason.


Every selling point of sanctuary laws crumbles in the face of reality. We have been told that sanctuary laws make a community safer because illegal aliens will be unafraid to report crimes and cooperate with police investigations. Yet there is an abundance of cases where illegal aliens are arrested in sanctuary communities for shockingly violent crimes.


The very same month sanctuary laws were implemented in Montgomery County, Md., this summer, illegal aliens were arrested for a spree of sexual assault crimes. After a public uproar that included a vocal rally against the laws in the left-leaning Washington, D.C., suburb, the county announced it would reverse its anti-ICE policy.


Pro-sanctuary politicians talk about how the “welcoming” posture will encourage more aliens to speak to law enforcement about crimes. This is just more upside-down thinking. Instead of waiting for horrific crimes to occur and then hoping to get cooperation, the obvious and better alternative would be to simply prevent more violent aliens from settling in the community in the first place. That’s not cruel, it’s being a smart and effective public servant by acting in the best interests of your community.


The idea that sanctuary laws are fair and compassionate to aliens has also been exposed as fraudulent. Such laws attract more aliens, and they tend to cluster in dense communities. Inevitably, that population includes drug traffickers, sexual predators and members of violent gangs like MS-13 who gravitate to the lenient law enforcement atmosphere. Those miscreants prey on the nearest available victims, most often nonviolent aliens living among them.


For those here illegally, a sanctuary community is probably the most dangerous place to live. Those who claim to be fleeing violence in their homelands may as well stay put. The violent narco-terrorists of the Northern Triangle have already moved to the United States in large numbers and are being shielded from deportation by out-of-touch politicians.


The decisive margins of recent votes in Arizona and New Jersey are not anomalies. They are the American people speaking with a loud and clear voice. The people, even those in traditionally liberal enclaves, can see through the partisan talking points from politicians and the media. Regardless of political affiliations, they want to live in safe, prosperous communities. Sanctuary laws only bring crime and despair. It is time for our leaders to stop dictating their agenda to us and start implementing our wishes.


Brian Lonergan is director of communications at the Immigration Reform Law Institute, a public interest law firm working to defend the rights and interests of the American people from the negative effects of illegal migration.


Also published at: Brian Lonergan, Sanctuary laws defy the will of the American people, American Thinker, December 27, 2019.

IRLI is a supporting organization of the Federation for American Immigration Reform.

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