A look at the so-called Sanctuary City Bill

Published 7:54 am Saturday, July 15, 2017

Editorial by Louis Ackerman


Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.  This is the inscription on the Statue of Liberty and has been posted on our shoreline since 1886.  However, a hundred and thirty-one years later we are passing legislation like SB4, the so-called Sanctuary City Bill.  We are shaming people of foreign descent and insisting that everyone who lives here speak English despite the fact that ninety-eight point three percent of Americans are immigrants themselves and our strength, as Americans, comes from our cultural diversity.

I believe the success and support of the Sanctuary City ban are the results of ignorance, both inherent and intentionally spread.
You will hear from Governor Greg Abbott, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick and Attorney General Ken Paxton all about how SB4 is about safety and improving the quality of life for Texas Citizens.  The problem with this narrative is that it is a false narrative, even a dangerous narrative.  To understand why, we have to look at what a Sanctuary City is and what a Sanctuary City ban actually does.
For the sake of this article I will use the definition of the vile Jeff Sessions.  According to the White Hooded Attorney General, a Sanctuary City is any city in which they willfully refuse to comply with Section 1373 in our immigration law.  Section 1373 requires State and Local officials to share immigration status of individuals with federal immigration authorities.
In relation to SB4, this forces law enforcement AND local government officials to report on immigration statuses to the federal agencies that monitor such things.
That doesn’t sound so bad? Surely all the people (myself included) in an uproar about this are blowing this out of portion, right?
Consider, a rape victim goes to their local law enforcement agency to report a rape (which is rare, only 6.5% of rapes were reported to law enforcement in 2010) and they ask that you prove your citizenship before they can pursue your case.
Consider, you’re asked for your papers before you can appear in court as a witness in a lawsuit or criminal trial.
Consider, your child was attacked but before law enforcement can do anything, they must establish citizenship.
All SB4 does is make sure that undocumented immigrants (and even some legal immigrants) are too scared of law enforcement to interact with them.
It means when they are victims of a crime, that crime will go unreported.  You will have rape victims remain quiet, you will have assault victims remain quiet and you will have theft victims remain quiet.
That mean no law enforcement working to get these rapist and thieves off the streets.  How does that make our streets safer?  Worse yet, Senate Democrats fought, pleaded and begged to add an amendment to the Sanctuary City Bill that would exclude abuse shelters from these requirements.  Those pleas fell on deaf ears.
A battered woman finally works up the courage to leave her abuser, escaping with her children and the close on her back and is not only denied services at the shelter, but is detained and potentially faces deportation.
I am sorry, that is not an America I want to see, that is not an America I want my son to see.

Now, let us get something straight, I can feel some of you mumbling about open borders and giving criminals free reign.  The progressive stance on immigration is that we absolutely need reform.  We would love to see strong borders, immigration reform and a curtailing of illegal immigration.  The problem with SB4 is that it doesn’t address the problems that we are seeing in this country.  Everyone wants to talk about crime, especially this 600,000+ crimes committed by 250,000 immigrants between 2011 and 2017, but what they neglect to mention is that only 66% of those immigrants, just over 150,000, were committed by undocumented immigrants.  150K is a scary number, even in a state as big as Texas right?  Consider that is spread over 6 years and the average number of arrests for ALL people in Texas is over 1,000,000 per year.  All of sudden 150k arrests over 6 years doesn’t seem so important in the face of 6 million arrests.  Only 2.5% of arrests made were committed by undocumented immigrants.
I am not suggesting that we simply ignore them, but I am saying that our money can be spent in other places to confront the true issues related to immigration.
One of those problems is the immigration court system.  We have 58 immigration courts in the US and they have a backlog of nearly 500,000 cases and that is growing everyday, especially under Trump and Sessions.  That means the 250 judges in those courts have a workload of 1500 cases, triple the size of other judges.
Justice is not even being served in these courtrooms as lawyers are not provided, not even for unaccompanied minors AND these courts are deporting US citizens.  We even have a sanctuary house for deported Veterans in Tiajuana, Mexico.

These are the problems we should be addressing, not acting like jackbooted-stormtroopers and turning America in a police state.  We are better than this and should be proud that people wish to live here.  We should be accepting and trying to make that transition easier because at the end of the day we all bleed the same color and breathe the same air.  We are all human.

As a Progressive, I firmly believe in civil discourse with everyone, including dissenters.  I prefer to engage with people who disagree with me because I may learn something.  If you surround yourself with people who always agree with you then you will stagnate in an echo chamber of your own opinion.  To that end, I will answer any and all questions that any readers have, just send me an email at setxprogress@gmail.com, my name is Louis Ackerman and we will keep moving forward.