President Trump issued Executive Order 13768, “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States,” on Jan. 25. This mandate removes immigrants with criminal records and withholds federal funding from sanctuary jurisdictions. However, it is the government’s moral obligation to sustain safe havens for immigrants to protect humanity and provide opportunities to those in need.
Sanctuary cities are areas that do not enforce federal immigration laws in order to protect undocumented aliens from deportation.
The Los Angeles Times reported that the executive order threatens more than 400 cities in the U.S., some of the largest including Chicago, New York City, and Los Angeles.
However, these cities do not breed crime, as Trump and his supporters suggest. The American Immigration Council stated that incarceration rates are higher among native-born Americans than immigrants with 3.3 percent compared to 1.6 percent.
Lower crime rates are correlated with higher immigration rates. Between 1990 and 2013, unauthorized immigration rates more than tripled. According to FBI statistics, it was during this time that the violent crime rate fell by 48 percent.
Cutting funding to these cities would diminish the sense of security that these shelters provide to undocumented immigrants. Adriana Guzman, an immigrant who resides in San Francisco, stated to the Independent that in San Mateo, without a sanctuary, “children are afraid their parents are not going to be there to pick them up from school.”
This order has been viewed as a violation of the Constitution because it discriminates against a specific demographic. On Jan. 31, San Francisco filed a lawsuit against Trump’s administration.
San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera told the Los Angeles Times, “We must be the ‘guardians of our democracy’ that President Obama urged us all to be in his farewell address.” The current administration fails to see that immigrants deserve the same rights and treatment as any other American. Instead of isolating aliens within the country, we should focus on uniting the people under common values of freedom and compassion.
The first step to achieving that goal is to revoke this order and continue to fund sanctuary cities. Even though a significant portion of the federal budget must be allocated for these cities, the cost is incomparable to the benefits, paid taxes, and labor that undocumented immigrants provide to the economy.
They are people who simply came to this country for safety and a chance at a better life. The government must recognize that these goals are shared by native American citizens, and should not be denied of immigrants.
Sanctuary cities are not places where crime thrives, but rather, shelters that protect humanity and allow diverse communities to flourish in America.