Sanctuary CitiesA look at the origins and consequences of a policy rooted in phony “compassion.”

John Perazzo | Front Page Magazine

The late Kathryn Steinle, an innocent young woman who was gunned down and killed on a San Francisco street by an illegal alien with seven felonies and five deportations already on his resumé, is just one of many Americans who are lying in their graves today as a direct result of the “sanctuary” policies that have turned hundreds of U.S. cities into safe havens not only for lone-wolf sociopaths, but also for organized members of Latin American drug cartels, violent criminal gangs, and Islamic terrorist cells. Moreover, countless additional victims have had their psyches forever scarred, their bodies permanently damaged, and their lives all but destroyed for precisely the same senseless reason. The numbers are ugly: Of the 9,295 deportable aliens who were released after their arrest by sanctuary jurisdictions during the first eight months of 2014 alone, some 2,320 were subsequently re-arrested, on new criminal charges, soon thereafter. And before their initial release, 58% of those 9,295 aliens already had felony charges or convictions on their records, while another 37% had serious prior misdemeanor charges.

Sanctuary policies bar police and other public-sector employees in many U.S. cities from notifying the federal government about the presence of illegal aliens residing in their communities. As such, these policies defiantly give the proverbial middle finger to the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA ) that Congress passed twenty years ago to require that local governments cooperate with U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE). More than 200 cities nationwide currently observe formal sanctuary policies that are written as resolutions, ordinances, or executive orders. Numerous other cities, meanwhile, have implemented similar policies on an informal basis, meaning that they are unwritten but nevertheless authorized by local government leaders and obeyed by city workers. All told, approximately 340 U.S. cities administer either formal or informal sanctuary policies today.

The sanctuary cities movement grew initially out of the left’s post-9/11 efforts to undermine America’s war on terror—in particular the USA PATRIOT Act, which was passed by overwhelming majorities in both the House and Senate. As David Horowitz noted in his landmark book Unholy Alliance:  “Directed by organizations like the ACLU, the National Lawyers Guild, the Center for Constitutional Rights, the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, and People for the American Way, radicals mobilized legislators in [hundreds of] local and state governments to obstruct the enforcement of the [PATRIOT Act] law.” These groups, Horowitz elaborated, were also “fierce opponents of border control and immigration security”; “leaders of the movement to open America’s borders”; and in the vanguard of the effort to “establish rights for illegal immigrants that would blur the distinction between citizens and non-citizens and extend the protections of the Constitution to the latter.”

Today, all of these same groups are among America’s leading supporters of sanctuary policies. The ACLU, for its part, goes so far as to claim that it is actually illegal and “unconstitutional” for local jurisdictions to cooperate with the federal government on the enforcement of immigration laws. On the premise that illegals who are crime victims are less likely to contact law-enforcement if they fear possible deportation, the ACLU characterizes sanctuary policies as “commonsense measures to build community trust and ensure that crime victims cooperate with the police.” It seems not to have occurred to the ACLU that if those victims had not come illegally to the U.S. in the first place, the crimes in question would never have affected them.

Other key proponents of sanctuary policies include a number of high-profile, pro-amnesty organizations that wield immense political power. The National Council of La Raza, echoing the ACLU, argues that sanctuary policies “foster trust and cooperation between communities and police.” The League of United Latin American Citizens boasts that it is officially “on record in support of sanctuary cities,” and that it “directs [its] staff and local chapters to actively support them.” And the Mexican American Legal Defense & Education Fund portrays sanctuary policies as measures designed to “defend and promote the civil rights of the Latino community” against “anti-immigrant” forces. All eight of the aforementioned organizations have received financial support from George Soros and his vast left-wing funding empire. In addition, most of these groups have also received grants from the Ford Foundation.

It would be difficult, if not impossible, to name even a single leading Democrat in the United States who opposes sanctuary policies. Hillary Clinton, for instance, made two public statements in support of sanctuary cities during her tenure as a U.S. Senator. Bernie Sanders and then-Senator Barack Obama both voted against an amendment designed to prevent sanctuary cities from receiving federal funds. And just last last year, President Obama vetoed a Senate bill that likewise sought to cut off federal aid to those cities.

Ultimately, what sits at the heart of the Democrats’ support for sanctuary cities is the same thing that under-girds their support for amnesty and open borders: their unquenchable thirst for permanent political dominance gained through the mass importation and legalization of impoverished foreigners who can be counted upon to vote reliably in favor of a bloated, centralized, all-encompassing welfare state. It’s really quite simple. The Census Bureau includes all aliens—legal and illegal—in the statistics that are used to apportion the nation’s 435 congressional districts. Increasing a state’s illegal-alien population is therefore a highly effective way to inflate not only its representation in Congress, but also the number of Electoral College votes it is allotted. As Ian Smith points out in National Review: “Just through their illegal-alien numbers, the states of New York, New Jersey, California, Florida, and Illinois, which all went for Obama in 2012, received eight additional congressional seats in the last reapportionment, with over half of those gains coming from their sanctuary cities and counties.” In terms of their respective illegal-alien populations, these states are five of the top six nationwide. The sixth state is Texas, which, though still majority-Republican, is being aggressively targeted by political activists and open-borders groups that salivate at the prospect of a Lone Star State that is Democratic Blue.

Most illegal aliens in the U.S. are Latinos. Latinos vote overwhelmingly Democrat. Most states with the largest numbers of illegal aliens vote Democrat. And sanctuary cities protect illegal aliens from federal immigration laws. You can do the math.