The Real Problem with ‘Sanctuary’ Cities and States

On January 1, California declared itself a ‘sanctuary state’, refusing to cooperate with federal law enforcement on enforcement of immigration laws.

Also this month the state of Washington, whose governor had earlier issued an executive order making that state a ‘sanctuary state’ to keep from enforcing “mean-spirited policies”, filed charges against Motel 6 accusing it of cooperating with federal immigration officials.The question of ‘sanctuary’ states or cities is deeper and more serious than most realize.   The specific topic is immigration but the issue is not about immigration.  The issue, and the problem for the country, is California and Washington are saying that they are going to ignore laws that they don’t agree with or find “mean-spirited”.  So let’s see what California and Washington are really telling us…

In this specific instance, they disagree with the country’s immigration laws.    Both states have senators and representatives in Congress where those laws were made.  They had input and the same votes as everyone else and every other state.  But those states didn’t like the outcome so they are going to ignore it.  That presents two issues, problems for our country going forward and potentially big ones.

This time it’s immigration but what about next time.  When the wise rulers in California decide that there is something else they don’t like and they decide to ignore that, too, what then?  Can they just ignore any federal law?  And, if that’s the way they think it should be, then what about Orange County California, for example.  If they don’t like one of the state laws, can they pass a law to ignore the state law?

Or let’s take the same logical conclusion and say that another state decides that they don’t like some of the laws in California or Washington?   So another state decides that they aren’t going to help enforce California or Washington laws?   Like this case, they find a criminal in their state but refuse to notify California or to extradite the criminal, say someone wanted for a felony.  There would be outrage, and rightfully so.  Yet, we know that California has done the exact same thing—San Francisco refused to notify the federal government that they had released a convicted felon who had been deported five times and was wanted by federal law enforcement.   But if, say Iowa refused to do the same…?

So let’s not be so simple-minded as to think the whole ‘sanctuary’ movement is about immigration.  It’s not.  It’s about refusing to abide by laws passed by our federal government and representatives.  Now that we think about it…didn’t we fight a civil war about some states not wanting to follow federal laws?

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