House Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) wrote a blistering op-ed for Fox News this week in an attempt to draw the spotlight back to an issue that continues to be a point of division between Republicans and Democrats across the country. It is the issue of sanctuary cities – little dots of lawlessness throughout America where local officials have unilaterally decided that they will not enforce U.S. immigration law or even cooperate with the federal agents trying to do so. In these cities, which number north of 300, illegal immigrants do not have to worry about local police phoning Immigration and Customs Enforcement if they are arrested and detained – even if the charges against them are serious.
“Sanctuary cities and states threaten public safety, cost taxpayers’ money and encourage lawlessness,” Blackburn wrote. “Because of this, I have once again introduced the Clear Law Enforcement for Criminal Alien Removal (CLEAR) Act, which cuts off federal funding for sanctuary cities and states that provide amnesty for criminal illegal aliens.
“Sanctuary cities endanger their citizens,” she continued. “When Phoenix dropped its sanctuary city policy in 2008, its murder rate fell 27 percent the following year, and other violent crime rates also fell.”
Blackburn noted that sanctuary cities weren’t just making America less safe, they were also breaking the bank.
“In addition to being less safe, sanctuary cities cost hard-working taxpayers money,” she argued. “A Feb. 2 piece in Forbes notes that $27 billion in federal funding was provided to over 100 sanctuary cities in 2016. It states that ‘the cost of lost federal funding for a family of four residing in one of the 106 sanctuary cities is $1,810 – or $454 per the cost of lost federal person.’
“That money could be putting food on the table for struggling middle-class families,” she wrote. “Where is the compassion for them?”
Through executive orders and Department of Justice missives, the Trump administration has made every attempt to withhold federal grant money from Chicago, San Francisco, New York, and every other city that has decided to put the rights of illegal immigrant criminals ahead of federal law. But thanks to a court system that is determined to undermine the will of the people at every turn, there is no guarantee that these dictates will hold. Even if they do, the next Democrat president could easily flip the script and once again provide federal support for these outposts of illegality. We need something substantial, lasting, and real.
“California’s decision to become a sanctuary state is similar to the open borders vision that is destroying Europe. Sanctuary policies threaten public safety, take money from hardworking taxpayers, and encourage more illegal immigration,” Blackburn concluded. “Instead, we must secure the border by building President Trump’s wall and discourage amnesty. The CLEAR Act will accomplish this by withholding federal funds from state and local entities that do not respect the law. If lawlessness prevails, we will eventually become a sanctuary country.”
Truer words were never spoken. Hopefully, our elected representatives will see that the American people no longer want to pay these Democrat-controlled hotspots to let illegal immigrants escape deportation indefinitely.