I’m glad that Joe Biden mentioned the town in this New York Times article. After Riverside, New Jersey, implemented a local anti-migrant ordinance, it wreaked havoc on the town. Migrants left in droves and businesses suffered. So, recently Riverside decided to repeal the ordinance, making it an example for all local towns that follow the same path.
I personally laid out my view on sanctuary cities in this post:
I won’t dwell too much on sanctuary policies, but they are absolutely necessary for local and state police to protect local residents. If migrants can’t go to local law enforcement officials, they can’t report on crimes committed against them, or by other people. Fostering trust with migrant populations actually makes cities and towns safer and more lawful. Even the Association of Major Cities Police Chiefs agrees that local officials should not enforce federal immigration law. If you have a problem with it, take it up with them.
It’s also important to state that sanctuary city policies do not violate federal law, they just clarify that local law enforcement should not be enforcing federal law.
iPol has a transcript of the debate. Here’s the sanctuary city section of it:
RUSSERT: Before we take a break, I want to go to Allison King of New England Cable News, who has been sifting through thousands of questions from across the country, in New England and here in New Hampshire.
Allison, a question, please.
KING: Thank you, Tim.
Dozens of cities around the country, including several here, right here in New England, have been designated as sanctuary cities. These are communities that provide a safe haven for illegal immigrants, where police are told not to involve themselves in immigration matters.
Would you allow these cities to ignore the federal law regarding the reporting of illegal immigrants and, in fact, provide sanctuary to these immigrants?
KING: Governor Richardson, let’s start with you.
RICHARDSON: You asked me because I am the Hispanic here, but
The answer is yes. The problem we have is the lack of a comprehensive immigration policy. This is a federal responsibility. But what we have, because of the dysfunctional relationship between the Congress and the president, there is no comprehensive immigration bill. We need to fix the immigration system that is broken.
We need to find ways, number one, to increase security at the border with more detection equipment, more border patrol — not this silly wall.
Secondly, those that knowingly hire illegal workers need to be punished.
Third, a foreign policy relationship with Mexico where you say to Mexico, “Start giving jobs to your people; at the very least, don’t give them maps on the easiest place to cross.”
And, lastly, a legalization program — earned legalization, not amnesty, not citizenship, but a process where they can earn their way into America.
RICHARDSON: They can do it by learning English, by paying back taxes, by passing a background check, by paying a fine for having come in here illegally. Then get behind those that are trying to get here legally. And then increase the legal immigration quota, the H1B
But what you don’t do is basically deport everybody. That makes no sense. That’s not America. That’s not going to work.
Is the outline that I gave you messy? Yes. Is there going to be more bureaucracy? Yes. But the problem is cities and communities are being victimized by the failure of the Congress and the president…
KING: Time is up, Governor Richardson.
RICHARDSON: … to reach a resolution.
KING: I’d like to hear from Senator Biden. Would you allow these cities to ignore the federal law?
BIDEN: The reason the cities ignore the federal law is the fact that there is no funding at the federal level to provide for the kind of enforcement at the federal level you need.
Pick up the New York Times today. There is a city not far across the river from my state that imposed similar sanctions.
BIDEN: And what they found out is, as a consequence of that, their city went in the dumps — in the dumpsters. Stores started closing, everything started to happen and they changed the policy.
Part of the problem is: You have to have a federal government that can enforce laws. This administration has been fundamentally derelict in not funding any of the requirements of immunity — even enforce the existing law.
And last point I’ll make is, Rudy Giuliani doesn’t know what the heck he’s talking about. He’s the most uninformed person in American foreign policy and now running for president, number one.
And, number two, these guys, the — anyway…
KING: So, yes or no…
BIDEN: I wish I’d get to talk about something I know about like foreign policy. You ought to count me in on this debate a little bit.
KING: So, Senator Biden, yes or no, would you allow the cities to ignore the federal law?
KING: OK. I’d like to hear from Senator Dodd — New Haven, Connecticut, is on that list of sanctuary cities.
DODD: I think in circumstances — you have to here.
DODD: And, again, New Haven, Connecticut, was a good example here, where there was a cooperative effort with the local police departments and others to deal with health issues, crime problems and the like.
The Immigration Service came in an raided basically homes in that community, causing a great deal of disruption, disrupting the relationship that was being developed with community leaders, including the local police, and dealing with matters in that community.
We need to step back. What’s been said by Bill Richardson and Joe Biden is correct here. This was a failure of leadership again at the national level. We had an opportunity to draft an immigration law here that would have put us on the right track.
I certainly endorse everything Bill said here in terms of the provision. I think all of us do here, the general provisions.
We’re a nation of immigrants here. We have succeeded in no small measure because we have been a welcoming people here. We also understand we cannot tolerate 400,000 to 500,000 people coming to this country as undocumented workers each year.
We need to have a far better system in place that stops that flow coming in, to deal with the 12 million to 20 million who are here illegally.
If in the meantime here we’re dealing with children, we’re dealing with crime problems, we’re dealing with health issues at the local community, then you need to allow these locals communities to do that.
DODD: If it means temporarily engaging in a sanctuary protection here, then so be it if that protects our country.
In the meantime, we need to have national leadership, a president who would be able to bring together the Congress and could pass the kind of immigration laws that we, frankly, don’t have on the books today.
KING: Thank you, Senator.
Tim, back to you.
RUSSERT: I’ll get all the candidates on record. Just — anyone
here who would close down these sanctuary cities, not allow them to
RUSSERT: You would allow these sanctuary cities to exist?
KUCINICH: I would like to say that we’re forgetting who we are as Americans, Tim. You have to remember the message of the Statue of Liberty. That is who America is — “give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses.” We’re forgetting that. We should be talking about canceling NAFTA and WTO, givi
ng workers’ rights a premium in negotiations with Mexico. It’s a new direction.
RUSSERT: The question is: Would you allow these sanctuary cities to disobey the federal law?
KUCINICH: You know what? The federal law — there’s a moral law here.
RUSSERT: All right.
KUCINICH: And the moral law says that the immigrants are being used and mistreated.
RUSSERT: Senator Obama?
OBAMA: The federal law is not being enforced not because of failures of local communities, because the federal government has not done the job that it needs to do.
RUSSERT: But you would allow the sanctuary cities to exist?
OBAMA: What I would do as president is pass comprehensive immigration reform, and the federal government should be doing what it’s supposed to be doing, which is controlling our borders, but also providing a rational immigration system, which we currently don’t have.
RUSSERT: Senator Clinton, would you allow the sanctuary cities to exist?
CLINTON: Well, in addition to the general points that have been made that I agree with, why do they have sanctuary cities? In large measure because, if local law enforcement begins to act like immigration enforcement officers, what that means is that you will have people not reporting crimes, you will have people hiding from the police. And I think that is a real, direct threat to the personal safety and security of all the citizens.
So this is a result of the failure of the federal government, and that’s where it needs to be fixed.
RUSSERT: But you would allow the sanctuary cities to disobey the federal law?
CLINTON: Well, I don’t think there is any choice. The ICE groups come in and raid individuals, but if you are a local police chief and you’re trying to solve a crime that you know people from the immigrant community have information about, they may not talk to you if they think you’re also going to be enforcing the immigration laws.
CLINTON: Local law enforcement has a different job than federal immigration enforcement. The problem is the federal government has totally abdicated its responsibility.
RUSSERT: Real fast.
GRAVEL: Real fast. This whole nation should be a sanctuary for the war — for the world, and bring the people in.
What’s going on? Again, we’re in fantasy land. We’re talking about a problem — we’re scapegoating the Latinos of our society because we as a society are failing in education, we’re failing in health care, we’re failing in our crumbling infrastructure, and we’re failing by invading countries and spending our treasure.
That’s what’s wrong. And so I’m ashamed as an American to be building a fence on our southern border. That’s not the America that I fought for.
RUSSERT: Thank you, Senator Gravel.