Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sanctuary Cities Bill

Is it just me or is the so called Sanctuary Cities Bill misnamed? My understanding of the bill is that it found prevent Texas State money from going to cities that prohibit officers from asking detainees about their immigration status. From the name, you would think that the bill attempts to establish Sanctuary Cities, but it actually does the opposite.

To be honest, I don’t like the idea of cities trying to get around state and federal law by telling their police officers not to ask about immigration status. But I’m not so sure that I’m opposed to the concept of Sanctuary Cities. In the Bible, Sanctuary Cities were established for people who accidentally killed someone, so that they would be protected from the avenger of blood. Today, that kind of sanctuary isn’t needed because all people who kill someone are given a day in court to see whether it was murder or not. But the immigration issue is not so cut and dried. By the letter of the law, an alien who is in the country without the proper paperwork shouldn’t be here, but when you look at the individuals involved you hear stories of people who are having trouble obtaining the proper paperwork for one reason or another and yet they have family members who are citizens of the USA. It’s hard not to feel for these people, even though we know they are breaking the law.

So, why not have Sanctuary Cities? I suppose it would have to be done at the national level. Instead of having some cities that tell their officers not to check the immigration status, what if we followed the example from the Bible and set up a number of cities where illegal aliens would be allowed to live while they are making their way through the red tape. As long as they remain in that city and don’t commit any major crimes, the status of their immigration would not be an issue, but if they were to leave that city without the proper paperwork, they could be detained and sent back to their country of origin.

I can understand the desire to have police officers enforce all the law, not just part of it, but I think we also need to balance that with compassion.

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