Sanctuary cities are not going away, but instead as local authorities prepare for a Trump presidency, more are being created each day. These cities openly defy immigration laws and protect illegal residence living in their communities, not only neglecting the enforcement of federal law but posing a dangerous risk to communities.
Last week alone, two more cities have declared any illegal dwellers in their jurisdiction "safe" from federal law that would otherwise mandate deportation. The Boulder, Colorado City Council passed a resolution which solidifies that the city will "refuse to comply with federal authorities by questioning, detaining or turning people over on the basis of immigration status."
Similarly, in East Montpelier, Vermont held a board meeting on Jan. 2 to further discuss making the city an official sanctuary city. The local newspaper, The Times Argus explains, "Other Vermont cities, towns and districts that have proposed or adopted resolutions to become sanctuary cities include Montpelier, Burlington, South Burlington, Winooski, Milton and Grand Isle County."
For most cities, these declarations of independence from federal law are largely symbolic, but still create magnets for migrants, leaving citizens with no protection from the deteriorating social and economic effects of illegal immigration.
New York City Former Police Commissioner Howard Safir explained in Breitbart of January 2017 that recidivism is high among illegal immigrants who commit crimes, after being protected from deportation illegal immigrants return to society only to recommit crimes and have their background data essentially erased due to a lack of records.
This is exactly what happened to Kate Steinle, a 32-year-old San Francisco woman who was murdered by an illegal immigrant living there in July 2015. The lawsuit explains, Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez was a repeat felony offender and had been deported five times before settling in the sanctuary city of San Francisco.
Now fear looms that this is only the beginning of violence, as cities rush to proudly name themselves sanctuary cities in defiance of President-elect Donald Trump. Washington Times writer Stephen Dinen explained that "279 municipalities are still holding out, refusing to cooperate with federal authorities on at least some cases involving illegal immigrants. Those sanctuary communities released more than 2,000 illegal immigrants back onto the streets rather than turn them over to federal authorities in fiscal year 2016, and were on pace for even more in the first two months of fiscal year 2017."
These sanctuary cities make it impossible for the federal government to enforce immigration law. In fact, last year U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement was only able to catch and deport about one percent of the total illegal immigrant population, yet over 90 percent had criminal convictions, Dinen reports.
Worst of all, Congress has already tried to end this trend and force cities to protect their legal citizens, but Democrats prevented that from being possible. In July, a measure passed the House to remove critical funding from sanctuary cities until they agreed to enforce the supreme law of the land as the Constitution mandates. However, Senate Democrats ensured the legislation would not pass with a 55-42 vote, failing to reach the 60 votes needed.
As more sanctuary cities declare their defiance of the law, Trump must commit to his promise to protect Americans from the harms of illegal immigration. Legislation to defund sanctuary cities until they enforce the law is vital to Trump's ability to rein in the illegal immigrant population. Trump's hardline stance on immigration helped win him the election - now he must force cities to realize the danger they are putting their citizens in.
Natalia Castro is a contributing editor at Americans for Limited Government.