The difficult truth about ‘sanctuary cities’ and urban violence
HOUSTON, January 31, 2017 — A man in a Houston school parking lot was being brutally beaten by three others. I called Houston 911 and drove my car up to the attackers, with no idea of what I was going to do but hoping that the attention would make them stop.
It did. As the car approached, they ran, leaving their injured victim.
After the police cars pulled up, I walked up to one of the officers and I told him I had made the call. He said that this sort of thing is “common.” “He’s an undocumented worker from Mexico and has no interest in turning in his attackers.”
Houston has long been a so-called “sanctuary city.” “Doesn’t he know how this city handles undocumented workers?” I asked.
The officer said the man understood, but had no intention of reporting his attack or attackers.
He went on to say that, the reality was, “sanctuary cities make things more dangerous for everyone.”
The officer added that people in this country illegally are often well informed about how local governments work. Furthermore, they nimbly compare life in the U.S. with life back home, where officials arbitrarily change laws with little regard for due process.
The officer explained that undocumented residents believe that if they report anything to the police, the government will have information about them. If the government changes and becomes hostile to them, they will no longer be safe. They therefor choose to remain silent, regardless of the city’s sanctuary status.
According to the officer, for all practical purposes “there are no sanctuary cities. They create a false sense of security that enhances a culture that is dangerous to everyone.”
In spite of this, sanctuary cities are actually a magnet to undocumented workers, because at least these cities are not actively hostile to them. But the large number of undocumented visitors that these cities attract are dangerous to everyone, making a situation where many immigrants are violent to other immigrants without consequence. This culture of lawlessness spills over to the general population.
The Washington Post, which is neither conservative nor xenophobic, has noted the connection between higher crime rates and the undocumented.
It is no surprise that the Trump administration has carried through with the promise to financially punish cities that maintain a sanctuary policy. Very few are protesting the policy, except for the politicians who fear the loss of federal dollars that will come if they are not compliant with this executive order.
If a city is unwilling to abide by federal law, it should face financial consequences.
Historically, a “sanctuary” has been used in the context of a sacred place, such as a shrine. The word “sanctuary” implied a place set apart and safe by design. To most Americans, sanctuary cities are the antithesis of safe.
They should be called what they are: lawless cities that are far from safe. They are dangerous places for both legal residents and those who live there illegally.