Sanctuary Cities – but for Whom?

By | December 1, 2016 | 0 Comments

           Kathryn Michelle Steinle               Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez

Five-time deportee and drug offender shoots and murders 32-year-old woman at tourist attraction, after San Francisco authorities refuse to honor immigration hold and release him from jail.
News report

Every time a little thing like this happens, they use the most extreme example to say it should be eliminated. [Emphasis added.]
U.S. Representative Luis Gutierrez

We will end the sanctuary cities that have resulted in so many needless deaths.
Donald Trump

Those who are kind to the cruel will in the end be cruel to the kind.

“Sanctuary city” is a euphemism for a place where local officials have decided to ignore federal law. But not just any federal law – only immigration law.

The meaning is clear: “We have decided not to cooperate with federal immigration authorities. We have decided not to honor immigration holds placed on inmates of our jails. Instead of notifying immigration officers as requested, we will release these inmates to roam free and do whatever they intend to do. Have a nice day.”

Of course, this term would never be used if local officials were conservative, and decided to ignore federal laws regarding environmental protection, or gun registration, or income-tax collection, for example. Oh no, such local officials would be called law-breakers, or inciters of insurrection, or even traitors. They would be hauled before federal magistrates and charged with serious offenses. Their careers would be over.

True, this is speculation – it never happened. That’s not the way conservatives behave. If they disagree with a law, they work to have it repealed or amended. On the contrary, the opposite actually did happen. Arizona was dissatisfied with the lackadaisical enforcement of immigration laws by the Obama administration. So Arizona enacted a law mirroring federal law, so that local police could enforce it.

But what happened? The administration went to federal court, and the judge threw out the Arizona law. The judge declared that regulating immigration is the prerogative of the federal government, and that states and cities have no power to control it.

Note the colossal contradiction. Immigration is a federal prerogative, so states and localities have no power to help enforce federal law. But they do have power to disobey and obstruct federal law. Really? On what planet? In what legal system, or in what logical system, do localities lack the power to help enforce a law, but do have power to obstruct that law? That’s not just illogical, it’s delusional.

The key question is this: “Sanctuary cities” are sanctuaries for whom? To help answer this question, consider this quote:

Our people are hurting, and they feel afraid. – José Gomez, Archbishop of Los Angeles,

Archbishop Gomez spoke two days after the presidential election. Donald Trump will take office at noon on January 20, 2017. Some people may indeed feel afraid, but hurting? Who is hurting them? Archbishop Gomez was born in Mexico. He is an American citizen; whether he holds dual citizenship is not stated. He was appointed by Pope Francis, who was born in Argentina.

The archbishop apparently was speaking for the approximately three million Latinos in his archdiocese. But the archdiocese of Los Angeles, the largest Catholic archdiocese in the United States, has about five million total congregants. Was he also speaking for the two million non-Latinos?

The archbishop’s message on the election, posted on the website of the archdiocese, is headed by a photo of Trump. But oddly, the photo appears on a TV monitor in a coffee shop in Tel Aviv, and is accompanied by large Hebrew letters. Of all the photos of a victorious Trump in the United States media, and worldwide as well, why select one with Hebrew text above it? What was Archbishop Gomez trying to imply? Clearly, Gomez dislikes Trump, or at least dislikes his policies. But why imply a connection to Jews? Perhaps I am making something out of nothing. Perhaps not.

But when Archbishop Gomez refers to “our people,” whom does he mean? Americans? Mexicans? Christians? Catholics? Latinos? Illegal immigrants? Law-abiding immigrants? All immigrants? All law-abiding people? All people? Who constitute “our people”? The archbishop didn’t say.

Regardless of liberal dogma and popular music, you can’t love “all the peoples of the earth.”

● You can love the peace-loving, or the violent.

● You can love the law-abiding, or the law-breaking.

● You can love the innocent, or the guilty.

● You can love the victim, or the attacker.

● You can love children in overcrowded classrooms, or you can love people streaming across the border.

● You can love children from Asia or Africa who want classes in English, not Spanish, or you can love people streaming across the border.

● You can love patients in overcrowded public hospitals, or you can love people streaming across the border.

● You can love inmates of overcrowded jails and prisons, or you can love people streaming across the border.

● You can love overburdened social workers, or you can love people streaming across the border.

● You can love unemployed Americans seeking jobs, or you can love people streaming across the border.

● You can love American workers who want a living wage, or you can love people streaming across the border.

But you can’t love both.

To claim you do only cheapens the precious word “love” until it becomes virtually meaningless.

To claim you do reduces “I love you” to “I have no immediate plans to harm you, but I don’t really care if someone else harms you.”

To claim you do does nothing whatever for the one you purport to “love,” but merely makes you feel good about yourself.

To claim you do demonstrates narcissism – that is, self-love, the opposite of real love.

The law is not a buffet, where we can bypass the veggies and load up on desserts. The law is a sit-down dinner, where we take what we are served and make the best of it. Does Los Angeles, where I live, have the right to ignore federal laws it dislikes – for example, immigration? Then why don’t I have the right to ignore city ordinances I dislike – for example, parking restrictions?

Once we start down the road of ignoring laws we dislike, where do we stop?

Will the Confederate flag, so despised by “progressives,” be raised over Los Angeles City Hall? Before you dismiss this idea as absurd, recall that some “progressives” are promoting the secession of California from the United States. And this because they agree with the agenda of an organization called La Raza, the race. Yes, the Stars and Bars might be an appropriate symbol for secessionists who see “race” as crucially important.

The voters of California, which vies with Massachusetts for the title of most “progressive” state, just voted for the third time to retain the death penalty. But there are no executions, because judges and state officials oppose the death penalty. Still, it is incorrect to say that California has no death penalty. It has no death penalty for people like Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez. But it does have a death penalty for people like Kathryn Steinle.

We can have a sanctuary city that is safe for Kate Steinle, or safe for Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, but not safe for both. We can have a city that is safe for a young woman to go to a tourist attraction with her father, or safe for a repeat criminal to roam free, but not safe for both.

We have to choose between Kathryn Steinle and Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez. We have to choose whether we will be kind to the kind, or kind to the cruel. Well, which will it be?

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