Sanctuary, sanctuary, sanctuary—a concept when used by city governments to not enforce our immigration laws really burns us all. Our late, wonderful San Francisco Chronicle columnist Herb Caen used to call SF "Bagdad by the Bay", meaning I presumed "a wild Casbah of mixed-up liberals". The craziest mixed-up liberal of them all on immigration policy is Mayor Gavin Newsom. You might want to romp through his bio on Wikipedia. [As of October 25, 2008]Makes fun reading, including his personal life story and his marital gyrations.
As a Democrat, and a long-time San Francisco resident, I was certainly not adverse to his issuance of same sex marriage licenses and many of his subsequent actions, which mark him as a far better Mayor than the generally inept list of his predecessors.
However, as Wikipedia reports, [As of October 25, 2008]
"On April 23, 2007, Newsom again drew national attention when he announced at a community action held by the San Francisco Organizing Project that he would do everything he could to discourage federal authorities from conducting immigration raids.
" 'Our action is to stand strong in opposition to these raids... to make sure that we are not contributing in any way, shape or form,' Newsom said. 'Even legal immigrants are fearful. This just sends a chill to a lot of people. There are a lot of cities that want these raids. That's where the federal government should be spending their time.'
"Newsom supported city identification cards for illegal immigrants in 2007 to allow them access to city services and to be able to set up bank accounts in the city. In April 2008, San Francisco undertook a $83,000 advertisement campaign to inform city residents that San Francisco is a sanctuary city as part of the identification card program. In July 2008, following the high profile murder of a local father and his two sons by a previously arrested illegal immigrant, as reported on CNN, Newsom announced that San Francisco would change its policy of shielding illegal immigrants who had committed other crimes and that San Francisco would begin to cooperate with the federal government in that regard. However, the city remains a sanctuary for illegal immigrants." [VDARE.COM note: links added]
Wow—take no action until some illegal aliens murder someone…
Looking at sanctuary for illegal aliens that way is nutty, Mr. Mayor. You really got this issue wrong, wrong, wrong, as any sanctuary city policy is. ID cards for illegal aliens, access to taxpayer-funded services, leaving felons loose to murder citizens…in the latter case I guess you finally got wiser, but are still not really correcting of your loose cannon iimmigration views.
The bright spot, however, is that you got sued. A sensible SF citizen (there is at least one besides me) filed a taxpayer lawsuit which accused San Francisco officials of violating a state law that requires police who make drug arrests to notify federal authorities if a criminal suspect doesn't appear to be a U.S. citizen. Gee, not complete enough, but a start.
However, a Superior Court Judge, in a kooky ruling , dismissed the suit last year, saying the California law on which it was based was an invalid attempt by the state to regulate immigration.
We citizens should therefore be delighted with the decision by the First District Court of Appeal which has just disagreed. Its rationale is odd–it said the law, though it might affect immigration, is based on the state's legal authority to combat drug trafficking. But it serves the purpose
As the October 23rd SF Chronicle article notes,
"The 3-0 ruling allows opponents of San Francisco's immigration policy to try to prove that the city has broken the state law. Passed in 1953, the law requires police to tell federal immigration officials whenever they arrest someone for any of 14 specified drug crimes and have reason to believe that the person 'may not be a citizen of the United States.' It applies not only to illegal immigrants but also to non-citizens who are legal residents and can be deported for committing serious crimes." [VDARE.COM note: links added]
The Chronicle then quotes a co-plaintiff:
"This decision strikes at the heart of the sanctuary movement," said Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, a conservative group that joined the lawsuit after it was dismissed. The court did not look into the city's reporting practices, which will be considered later in the case, but Fitton said he has "little doubt that San Francisco is in noncompliance with the law." [Critics of S.F. immigration policy win ruling, By Bob Egelko]
It's a start, folks. This attitude that our Federal government can't get help on apprehending illegal aliens in sanctuary cities needs to be given a terminal whack on the head—which should include withdrawal of federal funding for any city that so opts, just like the enforcing of speed limits on states for federal highway funds.
Donald A. Collins [email him], is a freelance writer living in Washington DC and a former long time member of the board of FAIR, the Federation for American Immigration Reform. His views are his own.