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The Unconstitutionality of Sanctuary Policies
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The Unconstitutionality of Sanctuary Policies
Cities and states of refuge that have sanctuary policies perpetuate crime. In written or understood form, sanctuary policies regulate against local police cooperating with immigration authorities. As much as is possible, â€œsafe harbor areasâ€ apply political pressure to federal law enforcement agencies, such as the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (â€œICEâ€), the goal of which is to discourage illegal alien searches (Ward 278). For example, LAPD Special Order 40 (1979) bars â€œâ€¦ initiating police action where the objective is to discover the alien status of a personâ€ (MacDonald, para. 10). Locally-elected officials, often of similar ethnic backgrounds as the illegal aliens they seek to protect, have succumbed to local pressure and passed various statutes and provisions â€œâ€¦ that restrict their own employees â€¦ from sharing information with the I[CE]â€ (Tancredo, para. 15). Immigrant sanctuary for those illegally entering America is a moral, constitutional, and civic error. This type of policy violates our countryâ€™s constitution and disregards the safety and well-being of natural and naturalized citizens. Federal policy must completely ban illegal immigrant sanctuary policies, which disregard constitutional precedent and contribute to violent crime.
Section 8 of the constitution of the United States of America provides Congress with the power â€œto establish an uniform rule of naturalizationâ€ (United States House of Representatives). As an exclusive power, this authority grants the United States Congress sole responsibility regarding immigration law. In 1976, the United States supreme court ruled that the authority to regulate immigration is unquestionably exclusively a federal power (Decanas v. Bica). Given that the United States Congress is the sole authorized legislative body regarding immigration policy, any local or state immigration law relinquishes authority and legitimacy prior to the ink drying on the writ. Furthermore, section 642(a) of the 1996 Illegal Immigrant Reform and Responsibility Act prohibits local government from enacting policy that would hinder local authorities from cooperating with federal immigration entities (Tancredo, para. 6). Therefore, sanctuary--a local policy--violates both constitutional and federal law. As a violation of both the constitution and existing federal law, sanctuary policies should be repealed, thereby returning the exclusive right of Congress to regulate immigration.
Sanctuary policies risk American lives and property by protecting potential terrorists and violent criminals. Case in point, years before he became a notorious sniper and killed many Americans in the Washington, DC area, John Lee Malvo was allowed to go free as an illegal alien in Washington state due to a state sanctuary policy (Brown, para. 3). Any amnesty measure, especially one that creates a philosophical divide among local and federal authorities, risks an influx of illegal aliens traveling to the city offering it. Unfortunately, as these unauthorized entrants migrate to harbor cities, including San Jose; Seattle; Durango, Colorado; San Francisco; Chicago; Austin; Los Angeles; Houston; and San Diego, as well as the entire state of Oregon, they leave paths of crime and destruction behind them. For example, just north of the United States-Mexican border, Arizona ranches bear the burden of illegal aliens cutting fences and poisoning cattle (Buchanan 131). Illegal criminals also commit crimes of greater magnitude, including gang violence, electronic and cyber crime, terrorism, arms trafficking, victimization, etc. (Ward 291â€“99). Across the country, illegal aliens usurp resources already fully allocated to preserving safety and jeopardize the lives of American citizens.
There are those that disagree and think that sanctuary policies should be accepted and, perhaps, expanded to other cities. Proponents of safe harbor laws usually provide an argument that revolves around patriotism, indicating that America is the land of the free and the home of the brave. As a matter of argument, one could even quote Emma Lazarus, whose poem is engraved on the Statue of Libertyâ€™s pedestal:
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land; Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
â€œKeep ancient lands, your storied pomp!â€ cries she
With silent lips. â€œGive me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!â€
However, America does provide ample opportunity and freedom to legal immigrants each and every day. Contrary to the beliefs of those lobbying for immigrant amnesty and sanctuary, it is unacceptable to begin a naturalization process with criminal intent. Those wishing to travel to America and become citizens must do so legally or not at all. Americaâ€™s founding fathers provided for legal immigration and our nation must stand up against constitutionally illegal sanctuary policies. Today, the people of the world view America as a beacon of hope and freedom. Just as it meant something in Saint Paulâ€™s time to be Roman, today American citizenship carries global importance. Paul wrote about a time he was under scrutiny and offered a warning based upon his Roman citizenship: â€œTake heed what thou doest: for this man is a Romanâ€ (Holy Bible, Acts 22.26). America is the land of the free and the home of the brave; she does accept the huddled masses yearning to breathe free. However, only Congress is allocated the provision of administering immigration policy. Legal immigration should continue to offer a shining example of America providing freedom and democracy to the world. At the same time, the safety of natural-born and naturalized American citizens must take precedence over the needs of illegal, unauthorized immigrants.
Jim Cooke, freelance writer and editor, operates Jim's Magic Editing, www.jimsmagicediting.com, which provides website, resume, and general editing services.
Brown, Steve and Chris Coon. Illegal Alien Sanctuary. Front Page Magazine 1 July 2003. 19 July 2004. http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/939227/posts.
Buchanan, Patrick J. The Death of the West. New York: St. Martinâ€™s Press, 2002.
The Constitution Home Page. 2004. http://www.house.gov/constitution/constitution.html.
Decanas v. Bica. 424 US 351. 1992.
Holy Bible: King James Version. Grand Rapids, Michigan: The Zondervan Corporation, 1983.
MacDonald, Heather. â€œCrime & the Illegal Alien.â€ Center for Immigration Studies 4 July 2004. 9 July 2004. http://www.cis.org/articles/2004/back704.html.
Tancredo, Representative. â€œSanctuary Policy & Crime.â€ Online posting. 9 July 2003. Limits to Growth. 19 July 2004. http://www.limitstogrowth.org/WEB-text/tancredo-70903.html.
Ward, Richard H. â€œThe Internationalization of Criminal Justice.â€ Criminal Justice 2000.
9 July 2004. http://www.ncjrs.org/criminal_justice2000/vol_2/02h2.pdf.
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