Please Bus Migrants to Sanctuary Cities

New Orleans       Put your head in your hands for a second, because this is almost mind blowing.  Yes, we’re talking about the latest confusion about the Trump administration’s immigration policy or policies or whatever you would call this mayhem and mess.

Over recent days word slipped out that some of the rabid, mouth foaming aides, like Stephen Miller, wanted to put migrants and their families crossing the southern US border with Mexico onto buses and pack them out to so-called sanctuary cities.  This was supposed to be a punishment of some kind for these cities because of their unwillingness to act as an unpaid local police force for a fraught federal immigration policy.  Everyone involved at ICE, Homeland Security, and the White House then denied that this was a policy recommendation or anything more than some crazy spitballing fueled by too much caffeine.  Just fake news by a biased, liberal press.

In short, never a real proposal, just a wild hair, until…President Trump, who increasingly is infamous for never rejecting a bizarre proposal if it can divide and inflame his base, seized the idea as his own and started insisting that, yes, roll up the buses, and send the migrants from south Texas and southern Arizona to sanctuary cities.  At least do so for several news cycles.

Here’s what I say.  Call his bluff.  Please, please President Trump, send these desperate migrant families seeking asylum, opportunity, and safety to the cities of America, especially sanctuary cities, where they will finally be supported and cared for with the historically generous and open-handed spirit of the real America.  Get them out of tented detention centers, hot and dusty, or repurposed Walmart stores in south Texas, and let go where there are jobs, social services, and people who know that we need new workers and fresh blood to build America.  Let them come to the cities that have been built and welded together by immigrants for generations.  Let them go anywhere as long as you get them out of border detention camps!

Some mayors of US cities have the right idea and have condemned Trump’s attempt to use migrant families as political pawns in his bitter, hateful, demagogic campaign posturing.  Mayors in Chicago, Philadelphia, and other places like Montgomery County, Maryland, that have large immigrant populations have said, hey Mr. President, send them over here.

Cities and towns throughout the United States are crying for population to fill jobs, students for schools so they won’t have to close, customers for stores, and families to pay taxes.  How about putting the welcome sign on the city limits in these communities so that the Trump buses know where to pull in, stop, and unload families to a real home rather than a prison camp?

Make Trump do the right thing, even if it’s for the wrong reason.  Let sanctuary cities be real sanctuaries.  Please.

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Sanctuary Cities and Counties Gearing Up for Anti-Deportation Fight

mnNew Orleans    Big cities with large immigrant populations are stepping up and shouting loudly towards Washington that they will refuse to be attack dogs for any new administration initiatives to forcibly deport undocumented workers and families from their jurisdictions. According to an estimate from the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, an advocacy and legal assistance group in San Francisco and Washington there are an estimated 500 local city and county governments around the country that have refused at some level to forward information from police to the Department of Homeland Security as part of the local communities program. Checking the data would allow DHS to determine if someone is in the country legally.

There are interesting bits of irony at play that give local jurisdictions some reason to believe that their resistance could be effective. Some of President-elect Trump’s biggest drumbeaters on this issue including Kansas Secretary of State and counsel to FAIR, the hardline anti-immigrant rightwing group, Kris Kobach, and former mayor of New York City and current wannabe Secretary of State, Rudy Giuliani, both have made the case that local jurisdictions have rights that supersede the federal threats. The Times twists the knife here, saying:

In the past, conservatives have embraced the notion that state and city officials can assert themselves with immigration laws. One of Mr. Trump’s immigration advisers is Kris W. Kobach, who helped write a law in Arizona that allowed the police to question people they detained about immigration status. That provision was upheld by the Supreme Court. Rudolph W. Giuliani, an adviser to Mr. Trump who is expected to join his administration, unsuccessfully sued the government in 1996, when he was the mayor of New York, over a federal law he said infringed on local protections for undocumented immigrants.

I would love to see Kobach’s Arizona anti-immigrant strategy for the now defeated Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Phoenix’s Maricopa County turned against them.

The case that cities like Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and others are making is that their local police departments are not federal agents and therefore should not be forced to act as enforcers of federal immigration policy. There’s a federal agency, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), part of the Department of Homeland Security that is charged with that responsibility, so locals are essentially saying “do your job, we’re not going to do it for you on our local taxpayer’s dollar.” A Trump Administration’s case would almost be stronger if they were funding a presumed mandate for enforcement rather than trying to compel cooperation.

The threat from the right holds its own irony because most of it is a threat to withhold federal money from states and cities. Turns out the philosophy of local and state’s rights is really founded on no particular principle other than whose ox is being gored and who gets to say it’s their ball when the game is played. For millions this is no game, and so continues the resistance.

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