March 13, 2020
By Brian Lonergan
Modern society seems to be locked in an endless tug-of-war between “What We Are Told” versus “Reality.” We were told the Titanic was unsinkable, until it sank. We were told the 1980 Soviet hockey team was unbeatable, until Team USA beat them. We were told Donald Trump would suffer the worst defeat in the history of presidential elections, until he won. This has proven to be a lopsided contest. Reality often takes time to catch up to “What We Are Told,” but it always wins in the end.
The latest chapter in this battle has recently been settled. We were told that sanctuary laws make communities safer. We were told that they make a more “welcoming” and “inclusive” community. Reality has spoken, and it turns out none of that is true. Sanctuary laws make communities more dangerous. Innocent people are being victimized by sanctuary laws, and immigrants are no safer because of them. It is time for sanctuary laws to go into the ash bin of historically bad ideas, along with the blood-soaked, unintended consequences that they bring.
Since the murder of Kate Steinle by an illegal alien on Pier 14 in San Francisco first brought the issue widespread attention in 2015, there has been a steady stream of incidents where an unacceptably high number of people are now dead who would still be alive if not for sanctuary laws in their communities. It’s a national disgrace that dare not be discussed in the halls of power in Washington and elsewhere.
The victims in this tragic farce are our sons, daughters, spouses and grandparents. The response from our elected leaders is a toxic stew of gaslighting and coldhearted arrogance. In Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot has been under fire after a criminal alien previously released under the city’s sanctuary law was arrested for sexually assaulting a three-year-old girl in a McDonald’s bathroom. Read that again: a three-year-old girl. The mayor’s response could not have been more tone-deaf.
“If ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) is complaining, then they should do their job better,” she said. “They’re critical because we have said very clearly we are a welcoming city, a sanctuary city. Chicago Police Department will not cooperate with ICE on any immigration-related business. And that’s affected their ability to conduct immigration raids across the city. But that’s exactly our intention.”
The Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) recently exposed the case of Roberto Antonio Garza-Palacios, a criminal alien in Montgomery County, Md., whose negligence while driving caused the deaths of two people including an FBI agent in 2017. His punishment? A $280 fine, no deportation, and no prohibitions against driving. The IRLI investigation found that Garza-Palacios, who had a long criminal record and was shielded by sanctuary laws, was back on the streets driving just a few months ago before allegedly flipping his car and fleeing the scene. Who among us would feel comfortable with their teenage driver sharing the roads with this person? In what fantasy world does this make for a “safer community?”
While politicians lecture us on the need to be more welcoming to non-citizens who break our laws, the number of stolen lives resulting from sanctuary laws and out-of-control mass migration only grows.
The claim that sanctuary laws make a community safer is simply the opposite of the truth. The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General just released a scathing report on the damage caused by sanctuary laws. Its findings showed that forcing ICE to apprehend criminal aliens anywhere besides a controlled environment like a jail causes much greater danger to the ICE agents, those arrested and those living nearby. No one is “safer” this way.
Another fraudulent argument by defenders of this disastrous policy is that sanctuary laws encourage illegal aliens to cooperate with police, as they will be unafraid of being deported themselves. Aside from the fact that many victims of illegal alien crimes are other illegal aliens, this claim doesn’t fly either. ICE does not apprehend or deport anyone who gives them a tip on a criminal alien.
In fact, the federal government specifically protects people in this circumstance. The U-visa safeguards victims of certain crimes and those who are helpful to law enforcement in the investigation of criminal activity. A pox on local politicians who shamelessly lie to illegal aliens in their communities and stoke fear that cooperation with law enforcement will lead to their deportation.
We as a society would be better served by casting a more skeptical eye toward “What We Are Told” and placing more trust in Reality. The latter is telling us there is a better way than sanctuary laws. It’s up to us to demand it.
Brian Lonergan is director of communications at the Immigration Reform Law Institute, a public interest law firm working to defend the rights and interests of the American people from the negative effects of illegal migration.
Also published at: Brian Lonergan, Reality is smashing the sanctuary city charade, The Hill, March 13, 2020.
Sign up for our email newsletter to stay up to date with immigration reform in the United States.
Attorneys United for a Secure America (AUSA) is a non-partisan affiliation of talented attorneys dedicated to pursuing cases that serve the national interest when it comes to immigration law.
If you are interested in joining the network, visit the AUSA website.