Opinions: Students give contrasting takes on sanctuary cities


Map of US sanctuary cities courtesy of Wikipedia.

Ross Mellman and Benjamin Paley

Editor’s note: Student opinions left mostly unedited to preserve opinions of writers.

Ross Mellman: Why continuous state and local refusal to enforce federal laws must end

“Sanctuary Cities,” ones which refuse to comply with federal immigration statutes, have unmistakably contributed to the deaths of American citizens.

State and local refusal to enforce federal law is by no means a new concept, and throughout its permanence in American society, its existence has nearly always had a vast detrimental effect.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 ended the wretched state and local control over laws regarding mandated segregation. In the Jim Crow era, African-Americans were exposed to a plethora of unambiguous social injustices, which had unleashed upon them an overwhelming sense of heightened danger and violence.

In the Spring of 1875, the 43rd Congress enacted the Enforcement Act, guaranteeing African Americans equal treatment in all public facilities, as well as prohibiting exclusion from jury service.

Had these federal laws been enforced upon the states to the utmost adherence at the time of ratification under President Grant, then 89 years of suffering until the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 may have not taken place, as the Southern states were instead given access to enact legislation that was unmistakably at odds with the federal rule of law.

Countless lives taken or affected by the perpetual racist tones stipulated from the Jim Crow Laws may have been changed or different had the Enforcement Act been truly mandated and practiced in the Southern states, as the integration of races would’ve been given much more time to unfurl.

The instances today of cities’ blatant disregard to enforce federal immigration law, while by no means comparable to the incredible suffering caused by Southern state actions, has nonetheless paved the way for lawlessness, murders of American citizens, and a heightened level of violence in the so called “Sanctuary Cities.”

According to the United States Sentencing Commission, illegal immigrants accounted for 74 percent of all federal drug sentences in 2014, 12 percent of all murder sentences, and 20 percent of all hostage/kidnapping sentences. In total illegal immigrants made up 36.7 percent of all federal sentencing.

Illegal immigration is also not a crime without victims.

As “Sanctuary Cities” have prohibited local law enforcement from cooperating with ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement), countless illegals, arrested for “nonviolent” crimes committed on U.S. territory, have been released back into society regardless of the havoc they may wreak or the lives they may change.

Juan Sanchez, the killer of Kate Steinle who was infamously murdered at a tourist attraction in San Francisco, was serving time in federal prison for re-entering the country after his fifth consecutive deportation.

He had been transferred to San Francisco’s sheriff department for a drug related warrant, but was released as the local Sheriff’s department refused to prosecute the case. Against the direct orders of ICE, who had ordered a detainer to retake custody of Sanchez upon his release, the sheriff’s department released Sanchez into society.

Under San Francisco’s “Sanctuary City” policy, the sheriff’s department only honors ICE immigration requests to hold an illegal immigrant in jail if that person has a “violent” record.

On July 1, 2015, after breaking into a car and stealing a gun several days earlier, Sanchez fired the fatal shots forever stealing Kate’s life along with the happiness of her loved ones.

Had San Francisco simply upheld the request to detain Sanchez until the transfer with ICE, then Kate Steinle’s killer would’ve not been given the liberty to harm our people.

This shooting stands as one of the countless murders of American citizens perpetrated by illegal aliens. While this shooting was one of the most widely known crimes, the crimes against Americans, perpetrated by illegal aliens, has become nearly a daily ritual.

As recently as Wednesday, March 22nd, a 14-year old Maryland high school girl was brutally raped by two classmates aged 17 and 18 who were in the country illegally from Guatemala and El Salvador.

“I know that if this country enforced the laws that are already on the books those two young men would not have been here and this rape, this horrendous rape, would not have occurred.” One local parent said.

How many more sick and horrendous acts need to happen before our politicians redress their goals to protect the safety of the citizens of this country?

Throughout time, state refusal to enforce federal law has left our country stained with the blood of the innocents. Federal law, whether regarding civil rights or immigration, must be upheld to the fullest principle of each word for the safety of all Americans demands of it.

Benjamin Paley: Why continuous state and local refusal to enforce federal laws must continue

When the framers of the Constitution began deliberating over what type of government they envisioned for a brand new nation that had just declared its independence from a tyrannical government, they did not want an executive with too much power.

In fact, the executive branch of the U.S. Government was the last item of debate for the framers.

A federal system of government separates powers between a national government, run by the executive and legislative, and state governments, run by local legislatures.

Sanctuary cities are one way state and local governments can protect their citizens from a tyrannical government. They allow for state and local governments to have a say in the livelihood of many; protecting them, as law abiding and taxpaying residents.

When the president decides to enact laws that blatantly discriminate against certain groups, state and local governments have an obligation to protect their citizens.

The executive branch is not the ultimate authority on immigration; the legislature actually has control over immigration (see the U.S. Supreme Court case of Arizona v. the United States).

What is ironic about this whole thing, is that gun control measures are at the top of the list for Republicans to keep at the state level; but when it comes to people escaping from a war torn country or a leader that kills innocent people or dissidents, the republicans act as though the national government, especially the executive, all of a sudden are vested with different powers than the constitution myself, and many other Americans, know and live by.

Have a different opinion than the two writers above? Leave a comment below or email us at [email protected]

Ross Mellman is a contributing writer with the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] .

Benjamin Paley is a contributing writer with the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @benpaley92.