There are federal and local laws and the understanding of the division between the two. Each one of them has specific duties that need to be performed for the benefit of the ones who are living in the given place. The federal government is supposed to be dealing with issues that are deemed to be of national interest like the relationship with other countries or the funding of the military. The states, on the other hand, are supposed to be governing themselves by passing laws that will dictate what works best for them. This paper will be looking at why sanctuary cities should have a legal right to defy the federal government.
The sanctuary city debate was sparked by the federal government when it was forcing them to declare the immigration status of their citizens. A sanctuary city is a state that shares limited information on the immigration status of its citizens with the central government (Slater, 2018). In so doing they protect them from any actions that the federal law enforcement agencies may want to take on them based on that status. The objective of the leadership in such cities is to reduce the fear associated by the ones who are residing in the country illegally. They also do not want to lead to family breakups for cases where the children are bonafide American citizens, and their parents are not. Such people will be free to lead normal lives where they make use of the social services like schools and medical facilities among others. In return, these immigrants are encouraged to report crime and hence leading to safer neighborhoods.
The Federal Government on the other side is of the opinion that the undocumented workers pose a security threat. They allege that most of the illegal immigrants have a higher possibility of committing crimes and they need to take steps to deal with them. Brady (2017) observes that among the several steps is the deportation of all the illegal immigrants arrested on site and the building of a physical wall between the United States and Mexico. In addition, they want funding withheld for the sanctuary cities that are not cooperating with the federal government on this particular matter of declaring the immigration status of its citizens. They see these cities as hampering their efforts to deliver on the pledge that they had on immigration and the rule of law (Huang & Liu, 2018). One of their mandates is to provide safety to all the states by dealing with issues that may threaten the same. To this end, they note that the sanctuary states pose a threat to the ones that are not pursuing the same by providing a safe haven for criminals who commit crimes in other cities and run to hide in them.
The law asserts that it is up to the local states to formulate and enforce laws to the best interests of their citizens. Slater (2018) argues that the inhabitants in given localities believe that given the democratic state of these local governments they do pass laws that are best for their unique circumstances. They state that what is best for one state and works for it will not necessarily fit and work in other states. This is the principle behind having independent states otherwise all the laws would have been formulated and implemented by the national government. There are local experts who are familiar and to their peculiar needs and are tasked with coming up with policies that address them (Huang & Liu, 2018). The Washington bureaucrats may not be aware of the multiple factors at the local level that leads the citizens to opt for specific policies.
The sanctuary states allege that their system has many other benefits including inculcating confidence in the police. According to Stubblefield (2015) through the city being declared safe for illegal immigrants they can create an environment that will enhance cooperation between the police and the citizens in sharing information that will lead to an improvement in security. On the contrary, if there is mistrust between the police and the locals, then their work becomes more difficult, and the citizens have a disconnect with the system. They feel that the system is hostile which makes it not conducive for development.
The ones opposed to Trump's policies on the immigration issue feel that there are real concerns to deal with. There is an allegation that these are diversionary measures from the incompetence of the new administration. They feel that the monies that are spent in persecuting the same citizens who are peaceful and paying their taxes to finance it (Brady, 2017). It is morally wrong to deport hard-working parents who are taking care of their children hoping that one day they will be respectable members of the society ready to continue indulging in nation-building. After all, the American nation has a rich culture and a high rate of development majorly from the hardworking immigrants whose talent and innovation lies in the diversity.
The federal government needs to let the status quo remain between it and the sanctuary cities. These cities have been there for many years and have never seen anything wrong with having such undocumented immigrants after all they know what is best for the locals. The more they are pushed into changing this status, the more it erodes the spirit of nation-building that needs to be a responsibility of every state and individual. Every citizen including the undocumented ones feels that they have a stake in the wellbeing of everyone and would want a better nation for everyone depending on how they are treated.
Brady, K. (2017). Sanctuary Cities and the Demise of the Secure Communities Program. Texas Hispanic Journal of Law & Policy, 2321-50.
Huang, X., & Liu, C. Y. (2018). Welcoming Cities: Immigration Policy at the Local Government Level. Urban Affairs Review, 54(1), 3-32. doi:10.1177/1078087416678999
Slater, G. (2018). From Strangers to Neighbors: Toward an Ethics of Sanctuary Cities. Journal Of Moral Theology, 7(2), 57-85.
Stubblefield, B. (2015). Development in the Executive Branch Sanctuary Cities: Balancing Between National Security Directives, Local Law Enforcement Autonomy, and Immigrants' Rights. Georgetown Immigration Law Journal, 29(3), 541-548.
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