Immigration reform continues to be political hot-button issue as more and more illegal immigrants are committing crimes throughout the United States, and costing billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars to be spent prosecuting their crimes.Even with this surging crime wave, many U.S. cities and counties have adopted laws or regulations that prevent law enforcement from working with the federal government’s task of enforcing immigration law.
Democrats like Hillary Clinton, who is on record of saying that she would not crack down on sanctuary cities, continue to push the notion that preventing local law enforcement from cooperating with the federal government on immigration enforcement is somehow acceptable.
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump took the liberty of taking Clinton to task on the issue during his RNC acceptance speech, stating that his “opponent wants sanctuary cities.”
Trump is right. Politifact rated his statement “Mostly True.”
But do some Republicans running for elected office support the existence , or the creation of sanctuary cities?2016 GOP Republican congressional candidate John Rutherford, the former Duval County, Florida sheriff, may have blurred the line between supporting and opposing sanctuary cities.
According to a 2006 Florida Times Union story, Rutherford established the county’s ‘International Affairs Unit.’ This unit was constructed to “quell the fears of illegal immigrants concerned they would be arrested and deported if their status in the United States was discovered.”
While all Americans should welcome legal immigrants, Rutherford appears to have decided to ignore federal law and signal that Jacksonville police would not arrest or detain illegals as long as they did not break the rules.
“If you are a witness or a victim of a crime, we are not going to ask [your immigration status].”-John Rutherford (Florida Times Union)
In explanation of this move, the former sheriff cited a possibility of MS 13 gang members being used by these illegals for protection. However, Rutherford himself stated that at the time, there was no indication that any MS 13 members were actually in Jacksonville at the time.In a recent radio ad, Rutherford claims that he trained his officers “to enforce federal immigration laws.” His record proves that may have done the exact the opposite. Rutherford used hard-earned taxpayer dollars to establish an entire task force designed to provide protection for illegal immigrants who were/are afraid to contact law enforcement.
We called Rutherford to ask him to clarify his position on supporting or not supporting sanctuary cities, but could not reach for comment.
In fairness to him, Jacksonville does not immediately pop up on the official lists of sanctuary cities. However, if you examine the definition of a sanctuary city, it includes any city that has a policy of not enforcing immigration law. Rutherford’s policy seems to fit the bill.
So what is the definition of a sanctuary city?
While there is not definitive definition of what a sanctuary city is, just about all of existing definitions read the same.
Sanctuary city is a name given to a city in the United States that follows certain procedures that shelters illegal immigrants. These procedures can be by law (de jure) or they can be by action (de facto). The term most commonly is used for cities that do not permit municipal funds or resources to be applied in furtherance of enforcement of federal immigration laws. These cities normally do not permit police or municipal employees to inquire about one’s immigration status. The designation of Sanctuary City” has no legal meaning. (Source)
Do the existence of sanctuary cities compromise the sovereignty of the United States?