Publisher’s Points to Ponder: Should Sanctuary Cities be Abolished ?

Kimberly Hermann, general counsel for Southeastern Legal Foundation in Atlanta, Georgia, launched a litigious campaign to put an end to sanctuary cities. Hermann’s effort follows President Trump’s executive order to halt federal funding to the local governments who refuse to inform federal officials about “undocumented immigrants.”

In Hermann’s appeal letter—addressed to American citizens—she stated that “sanctuary cities shield criminal aliens from the arm of Justice and give criminal aliens special rights that are not afforded to American citizens. Thanks to sanctuary cities, thousands upon thousands of criminal aliens steal from, rape, and murder innocent Americans every year.”

President Trump cited a notable example of a sanctuary city that harbored an “undocumented immigrant” that allegedly killed Kate Steinle, the 32-yearold San Francisco Woman whose family filed a lawsuit against San Francisco. There are many stories in the media citing cases of “undocumented immigrants” involved with a crime such as a case involving Manuel Orrego-Savala, a Guatemalan citizen who enter the United States illegally and was deported twice. Orrego-Savala pleaded guilty in the death of Indiana Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson.

Sanctuary cities have been defined recently as cities that have policies that limit their cooperation with federal immigration law enforcement.

The practice of sanctuary is not a new concept and dates to biblical times with a slightly different purpose. The tradition of “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” was honored in the Old Testament. However, many believed the punishment for an accidental or unintentional murder did not fit the crime, so safe havens were created as a means of protection until the offender could have a fair trial.

The biblical practice of sanctuary has persuaded some present-day leaders to believe the “cities of refuge” are biblical precedent for the modern sanctuary cities in the United States. These leaders attempt to justify their refusal to work with immigration while failing to realize that those cities of refuge mentioned in the Bible, protected the rights of people who accidentally or unintentionally killed someone. The biblical standard is no comparison to the modern-day sanctuary cities without consideration of the facets of every individual case.

To ponder the question of whether the government should abolish sanctuary cities, we must look at the costs and the regional impact. According to The Hill—a political newspaper with a left-centered bias and high ratings for factual reporting—cited the findings of the U.S. Department of Justice and Homeland Security stating $19 million a day to take care of up to 450,000 convicted criminal immigrants who are eligible for deportation, but remain in U.S. jails and prisons. This does not include medical care. Regarding regional impact, Texas has been named the “epicenter for illegal immigrant crimes” according to a report released by the Department of Homeland Security and Texas law enforcement authorities. The report indicates that more than 217,000 criminal immigrants were arrest between June 2011 and March 2017. The report further confirms that 66 percent of the “immigrant criminal defendants” were in the U.S. illegally at the times of their arrests.

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