Sanctuary cities are an essential part of the fabric of America. These cities not only welcome immigrants into our communities but also help them assimilate so they can become contributors and not burdens to our communities. Who can argue with anyone or anyplace helping immigrants become well-adjusted Americans? President Donald Trump can, and has. Last Monday, the president proposed to cut federal funding to so-called sanctuary cities (the term “sanctuary city” is not an official title) at a time when we need immigrants to feel more welcome in our country than ever before.
Photo by Britt Selvitelle
Study after study has shown that our country’s ability to be a welcoming melting pot of different cultures is one of the main reasons we have had fewer terror attacks than those seen in Europe. The European Union is made up of more than two dozen countries who force immigrants to assimilate and learn languages as part of their assimilation process.
The United States, on the other hand, welcomes immigrants and allows them to assimilate at a natural pace. And, as a result, all immigrant groups in the U.S. have assimilated at the same rate. By the second and third generation, all immigrants of different nationalities have assimilated equally as well. Yes, the Irish, Italians and Latinos in this country have and do become proud Americans in the same fashion. Part of our success as a country is owed to sanctuary cities.
The sanctuary movement started at a grassroots level in churches where recent “illegals” could go and get help/services to get on their feet.
The movement may have started and been upheld in churches, but we have enough time and evidence to show that helping people integrate into the community results in benefits that outweigh any preconceived risks.
Over time, the movement grew so that individual cities support the cause — meaning the cities can decide how to handle immigrants/refugees without the federal government’s intrusion. That means in places such as New York City, for example, if someone wants to report a crime, the police cannot ask you for your migratory status.
It’s not about admitting that a person is undocumented or “illegal” — it’s about cities not asking a person’s status before helping them or others. Therefore, if a crime is committed, a person can report it without fearing being asked for his or her immigration status. Wouldn’t you feel safer with more eyes and ears reporting crimes committed in your neighborhood?
Unfortunately, too much attention is given to immigrants behaving badly compared to those who contribute to our communities. Recently, the news highlighted the horrific case of an undocumented immigrant raping a student in Rockville, Maryland. Maryland, by the way, is not a sanctuary state.
What happened to the female student in Rockville is truly a tragedy, but one undocumented immigrant doesn’t mean that all 12 million in our country are bad or criminals. Quite the opposite. These millions of people pay taxes, work for companies who have hired them out of need, and give back to their communities.
Sanctuary cities have less crimes than those who do not label themselves as sanctuary cities. According to a new study conducted by a political science professor at the University of California-San Diego, Tom K. Wong, sanctuary cities are safer and enjoy more economic prosperity than other cities.
Trying to deport all undocumented people because of a few bad apples is like trying to deport all men in the U.S. because they commit more rapes and murder — by more than 90 percent — than women. This is a point I recently debated with Jesse Watters on his Fox News show Watters World. It’s true: men commit more crimes than women. Should we get rid of all of the men to lower our nation’s crime rate? It sounds simple and silly, but that’s what Trump is saying about our nation’s undocumented population.
Sanctuary cities are as American as apple pie. Welcoming the world’s hungry and poor is what America does. I say, if we keep men in our country — even though they make up the majority of our nation’s troublemakers — then we should keep our sanctuary cities intact. It’s the patriotic thing to do, after all.
Cathy Areu is a liberal TV news analyst whose writing has appeared in The Washington Post Magazine, Today.com, USA Weekend, and People magazine.