How sanctuary cities save equality of opportunity


Photo courtesy of Flickr

Alexis Stoffers, Writer, Editor, Photographer

Recently, the federal government has been grappling with state governments to eradicate sanctuary cities from the country. Sanctuary cities are essentially safe zones for undocumented immigrants; since immigrants can’t be detained by police simply for their status, they tend to trust the police more, and crime rates tend to be lower. These zones are prime examples of states embracing their rights under the Tenth Amendment. According to the Supreme Court, within the city or county borders, the federal government cannot place conditions on financial support unless they are explicitly explained in the law, cannot force state officials to unlawfully detain immigrants for Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents (ICE agents) and cannot force states to adhere to federal policies regarding immigration by blackmailing them financially.

However, sanctuary cities were threatened in January of 2017 when President Trump issued an executive order forcing states to comply with federal immigration laws. If states refused to do so, they would be cut off from all federal funding. This executive order immediately raised red flags, and it was quickly repealed in April of 2017 by a San Francisco judge who expertly pointed out that 1) only Congress can place conditions on amounts of federal funding as large as Trump’s executive order (billions of dollars) and 2) if such federal funding conditions were to exist, they would need to be related to immigration laws.

The federal government has been attacking sanctuary cities and undocumented immigrants with a new intensity ever since the Trump Administration took over–thereby reflecting President Trump’s mission to deport undocumented citizens. Since the issue of undocumented immigrants directly affects the cities and states that the immigrants live in far more than the national government as a whole, I believe that states have the right under the Tenth Amendment to create and maintain sanctuary cities as they deem fit. This right means that sanctuary cities should not have to endure incessant meddling and backhanded policies by the federal government just because there is a difference in opinion. Ever since the first Constitution of the United States of America was drafted, we have had to compromise and make sacrifices for the sake of preserving the union. In this time of controversy, we should act like what we are, one united nation, and respect each others’ decisions and rights; in this case, I believe that would best be accomplished by conceding to allow the states to control the fate of their people on the issue of undocumented immigration. I suggest that if an undocumented immigrant commits a crime, the state government can allow ICE agents to detain the immigrant and deport them as necessary. Nevertheless, as long as undocumented immigrants do not commit any crimes, there is no reason to deport them, especially if they risked their lives to come to America. We are a land of equal opportunity–we need to act like it.