Editorial: Undocumented immigrants aren’t punishment for sanctuary cities


Renee Jones Schneider, Minneapolis Star Tribune | TNS

In an effort to retaliate against Democrats, White House officials have been pressuring immigration authorities to move immigrant detainees to sanctuary cities this week.

In an effort to retaliate against Democrats, White House officials have been pressuring immigration authorities to transport detained migrants to sanctuary cities like San Francisco and New York City this week. This is the second time in five months that the Trump administration has proposed placing undocumented migrants in cities where local authorities have protected them.

President Donald Trump’s latest proposal involves more than just labeling undocumented immigrants as a threat. Now, he’s trying to use them as a form of punishment. What he doesn’t realize is that while his words are completely dehumanizing, his actions wouldn’t actually punish the sanctuary cities.

In a series of tweets on April 12, Trump expressed desire to place the immigrants that he has referred to as gang members, animals and terrorists into cities that have acted against his immigration agenda.

“Due to the fact that Democrats are unwilling to change our very dangerous immigration laws, we are indeed, as reported, giving strong considerations to placing Illegal Immigrants in Sanctuary Cities only,” Trump tweeted. “The Radical Left always seems to have an Open Borders, Open Arms Policy — so this should make them very happy!”

Department of Homeland Security officials said Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s district in San Francisco was one of Trump’s targets and the administration considered releasing undocumented immigrants into other “Democratic strongholds,” according to The Washington Post.

Pelosi condemned the proposal almost immediately.

“The extent of this administration’s cynicism and cruelty cannot be overstated,” Pelosi’s spokeswoman, Ashley Etienne, said in a statement. “Using human beings — including little children — as pawns in their warped game to perpetuate fear and demonize immigrants is despicable.”

Ultimately, Trump’s proposed agenda is actually not likely to upset or punish sanctuary cities, which are dedicated to protecting undocumented immigrants. In fact, many members of sanctuary cities across the United States have already expressed their willingness to help undocumented immigrants if Trump’s order is approved. Gustavo Torres is the executive director of CASA Maryland, a group preparing to help migrants sent to sanctuary cities, and said he’s open to helping.

“He thinks it will be a really, really bad situation for our community, but he doesn’t know our community,” Torres told The Washington Post. “We are who we are because of the diversity here.”

Torres said that people across the region have been contacting him about helping host migrants released from detention if the White House moves forward with the agenda.

In reality, the proposal is unlikely to be put into action due to both legal and logistical obstacles, but the proposal in itself was an unethical attack on migrants, many of whom are escaping violence in Central America. Undocumented immigrants are not a danger to the country as a whole. That’s why sanctuary cities exist — to protect people that the president thinks he can use as a punishment.

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