Sanctuary Cities and Illegal Immigration

Date:  February 13, 2020  
Host:  Jim Schneider  
​Guest:  Jessica Vaughan
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When it comes to the subject of illegal immigration–sanctuary cities, counties and whole states are increasing in number.  Such areas create laws, ordinances, regulations, policies and even practices that obstruct immigration enforcement and shield criminals from Immigration Customs Enforcement.  

Joining Jim to look at these issues, and what’s taking place in general at our borders, was Jessica Vaughan.  Jessica is the Director of Policy Studies for the Center for Immigration Studies with an area of expertise in immigration policy and operations.  Prior to joining the Center she was a Foreign Service Officer with the State Department.

Currently 10 states, 134 counties, and about 34 cities have declared themselves to be sanctuary areas for lawbreakers.  Jessica is alarmed by this because she believes sanctuary policies are a danger to public safety as they inevitably result in the release of criminals who should be deported by ICE.  Instead they are allowed back on America’s streets where they’ve been victimizing others.

Secondly, she feels sanctuary policies generally interfere with the enforcement of immigration laws.  She reminded listeners that it’s Congress that makes immigration laws and the responsibility of the executive branch is to carry them out.  The states don’t have a role in such policy.

Jim then asked if this is what the supremacy clause is all about and Jessica agreed.  She noted that the Constitution says there shall be a uniform rule of naturalization and that means we can’t have 50 immigration laws with states trying to overturn/nullify federal laws.

What’s perhaps most unusual is that even places like the jails of New Mexico County and the Rhode Island Department of Corrections have declared themselves as having sanctuary status.  Jessica indicated that the reason for this is usually political. In the case of New Mexico, she noted that they’re afraid of lawsuits being filed by the ACLU and other ‘open borders,’ ‘anti-enforcement’ organizations.  Such organizations have succeeded in convincing some federal and state judges that the enforcement of immigration is inherently racist and violates the human rights of those in America illegally. The result is that they have persuaded some judges to declare that a local law enforcement agency holding  someone for ICE is a civil rights violation. She believes this will eventually be litigated in the federal court system and won’t hold up under the Constitution.

What impact is this having upon our nation?  Do sanctuary policies really make areas safer?  What are the new actions that Attorney General William Barr has announced against sanctuary jurisdictions?  These and other questions were answered, and listeners had their turn to speak as well, as Jim and Jessica worked their way through this complicated issue.  

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