No Sanctuary for Sanctuary Cities

By Mark Krikorian on February 25, 2009

A story in today's Washington Times on lawsuits in the works against Denver and San Francisco over those cities' culpability in deaths because of their illegal-alien "sanctuary" policies. In those cities, and many others, police are prohibited from asking about and/or reporting to the feds on the the immigration status of arrested criminals; thus, criminals who should have been identified for removal from the country were released, ultimately to kill Americans.

Naturally, I hope the cities are hit with huge damages, so taxpayers everywhere understand that they must not tolerate elected officials who require their municipalities to harbor illegal aliens. Be that as it may, it's always struck me as a little curious that the open-borders folks push so insistently for sanctuary policies. They inevitably lead to the release of criminals who go on to kill and rape, and then to a political uproar (no to mention, I hope, a huge cost). But, from the open-borders side's perspective, it's all so unnecessary, at least in a practical sense. The immigration authorities couldn't collect all the illegals that local police identified, in any case. If your goal is to ensure that illegal aliens stay here with impunity (which is, almost by definition, the chief objective of the "comprehensive immigration reform" side), then sanctuary policies don't help you that much, and they carry real political risks. Without them, the cops can report illegals to DHS, and then when DHS fails to pick them up, the locals can just blame the feds and get off the hook.

I assume the reason for the sanctuary-city push is that in the big cities the open-borders folks are much less sophisticated than the national-level players in D.C., and thus much more open about their fundamental rejection of American sovereignty (as we saw with the first wave of illegal-alien marches in 2006 and all the foreign flags and "This Is Stolen Land" banners, before the adults in Washington reined them in). This radicalism is probably one of their biggest sources of weakness, but over the long term they just can't help themselves.