Get Smart on 'Sanctuary Cities'

May 30, 2018

“When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt.” – Leviticus 19 : 33-34

 

 

I do not typically quote scripture in any of my writings, but this is the second time I’ve used this passage in making my point on immigration, and showing favor for Sanctuary Cities/Counties/States. The political climate over the course of the last two years has yielded fear mongering and an “us-against-them” attitude that is destructive to the fabric of our communities.

 

According to The Merriam-Webster Dictionary, ‘Sanctuary’ is defined as:  A place of refuge and protection.

 

“What is a Sanctuary City?”

 

There is no legal definition for Sanctuary Cities, but many use this term in reference to local jurisdictions that do not fully cooperate with federal agencies to carry out the deportation of unauthorized immigrants. In Maryland, the major metropolitan areas that have identified as ‘Sanctuary Jurisdictions’ are:  Baltimore; Baltimore County; Prince George’s County; and Montgomery County. There are places like Takoma Park and Hyattsville that also serve in the same capacity of limiting local law enforcement assistance to federal law enforcement cases.

 

“Wait a second--why are these areas not fully cooperating with federal agencies?”

 

The simple answer is—they don’t have to. Federal laws do not require any local or state government agency to engage in communication with federal immigration establishments or authorities. There is a caveat to this communication between local and federal government agencies, and that is found in Section 1373 of Chapter 8 of the US Code which bars any state or local government from passing a policy that prevents government employees from sharing “information pertaining to the immigration status, legal, or illegal, of an individual” with any federal agency.

 

There are federal laws that are in place to enforce the removal of unauthorized immigrants. The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is responsible for enforcing these federal immigration laws in accordance with their homeland security mission.

 

“Ummm...doesn’t federal law have more authority than local or state law?”

 

As Article VI of the U.S. Constitution goes into the ‘Supremacy Clause’, yes, federal law is law that affects everyone in the country regardless of state or locality, but the 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution limits the government’s ability to mandate particular actions by those states and localities—in this case federal immigration law enforcement. And it is with the 10th Amendment, the federal government is barred from requiring local law enforcement officials to enforce federal immigration law. This is in the same manner that our local police departments do not investigate or participate in federal tax law investigation--a federal agency, and only a federal agency handles that.

 

“I don’t care! I don’t want illegals getting welfare and our jobs. BUILD THAT WALL! MS-13! #MAGA”

 

As many Americans have expressed their dissatisfaction with these Sanctuary Jurisdictions, they likely forget that the United States was once the world’s Sanctuary Nation. People still come here to live where there is no official language, no official religion, no official culture, and no official ideology to pursue their dreams of a prosperous life for themselves and their future generations. Maryland must remain a viable part of the diminishing American Dream. Maryland must continue to build bridges—not walls. I want our Maryland to be welcoming to those who wish to call this fine state Home.

 

I get it, MS-13 is an extremely violent gang that has committed extremely violent crimes. I get it, people come to the United States and Maryland legally and illegally. Not everyone who comes to this country (or our state) illegally is here to commit crimes. We cannot lower the status of any individual to their lowest common denominator. It is wrong to place all illegal immigrants in the same light as MS-13 gang members; just as it is wrong to view all Police Officers as racist brutes.

 

I am proud that pockets of Maryland are known as Sanctuary Cities. I am proud that Maryland follows the letter of the law, and is committed to protecting ALL who reside in Maryland. I am proud that in the Sanctuary Cities, there is a level of trust between the immigrant community and the law enforcement professionals there to provide necessary protections. These Sanctuary Cities should be an example for all of Maryland to follow.  

 

Note:  Illegal immigrants are not eligible for welfare. Also, if illegal immigrants are taking “your” jobs, shouldn’t your anger be focused on the employers who hire them?

 

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© Harry Freeman 2018. Sponsored by Harry E. Freeman