Sanctuary Much – The Business and Politics of Immigration Enforcement Free Zones in America’s Cities

Posted on July 11, 2015


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My previous column, San Francisco and Federal Officials plead innocence in Kathryn Steinle’s death – “No soy culpable.”, – the first in a multi-part series, looked at San Francisco’s pioneering role in establishing a Cordon Sanitaire against federal immigration enforcement, known as Sanctuary City and its effect in making life more dangerous for legal residents.

In this follow up report, I’ll outline the political and economic premise of sanctuary city policies as they have expanded a footprint across the nation.

Part of the impetus for sanctuary cities is cultural Marxism and part of the motive follows a money trail. Sanctuary cities are actually designed as a magnet for illegal aliens to be yolked together with employers who prefer cheap labor to American workers, who remain unemployed. In this context, the ideological and business purposes are a happy marriage of opportunity.

In the case of San Francisco, the ideology of multi-culturalism, diversity, racial identity politics (RIP) and the collective illogical White liberal guilt – are the prevailing factors and the economic incentives are secondary.

In the case of yet others, the agenda is a hybrid – a sort of ménage à trois between cultural Marxists and employers on the make for cheap labor plus a captive racial group that can be balkanized into ethnic ghettos, which politicians can use to craft safe voting districts for, in most cases – Democrats.

Such is well illustrated by Dayton, Ohio and its “Welcome Dayton” initiative. The plan, as described by Fox News / Latino, involves ideas to help immigrant start small businesses, integrate into the local government and gain access to certain heath and social services.

“Welcome Dayton” started when the city’s Human Relations Council decided to investigate rumored unfair housing practices plaguing city’s Latinos residents. “The idea with the initiative is to create an atmosphere and environment where people helping these immigrants can optimize their resources.” said Tom Wahlrab, Welcome Dayton’s chairperson.

For those not versed in the subliminal dog whistling of public relations speak pertaining to government / business incest – “people helping these immigrants can optimize their resources”, translates in plain English, to politicians, banks and commercial businesses benefiting from catering to the illegal alien influx.

Amazing to outsiders not intoxicated by the thick smoke of diversity that dulls the senses of progressives to the reality of the crime and dysfunction of illegals, is their stubborn refusal to recognize the effects, even when in plain sight. “Our jails are full of these Hispanic people that supposedly broke the law,” said Mr. Wahlrab. With little effort, he could have educated himself to the fact that this half-baked enticement scheme is destined to failure; it’s failed elsewhere.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel launched one in 2012 called the “Welcome to Chicago Ordinance”. What has followed there, is what James H. Walsh, associate general counsel with the U.S. Department of Justice Immigration and Naturalization Service from 1983 to 1994, calls, “a crime wave so severe … that Police describe some Chicago neighborhoods as ‘Free Fire Zones’ that even armed officers hesitate to enter.”

The rationale most often cited by public officials for sanctuary policy in these cities is that if they don’t thwart enforcement of the nation’s immigration laws, illegal aliens won’t trust police or report crime in the neighborhood, therefore the affected communities will be more dangerous. But in fact, the truth is just the opposite. Maintaining enforcement free zones actually creates franchises and havens for gangs, drug traffickers, murderers, rapists and child molesters.

Some advocates of the policy object to the term, “Sanctuary City”, just as they object to the term, “illegal alien”. They claim, as does Lynn Tramonte, the Deputy Director at America’s Voice, that so called “community policing” policies merely restrict police and sheriff’s deputies from inquiring the immigration status of individuals they interact with when writing crime reports. That, however, is only the front end of the policy. The back end is the stated intention of refusing to honor requests, called “immigration detainers” received by federal immigration enforcement officials.

In the estimated 200 to 300 cities and jurisdictions throughout the country that have adopted these policies, city officials and law enforcement justify the screening of illegals from immigration enforcement in the name of community safety. Although it seems nonsensical and irrational on its face, and it is – the claim is uncritically digested by local and national media.

Standing back and looking at the uniform advocacy of sanctuary policies from a macro lens, brings a picture into focus that reveals the political backdrop to the fastidious non-cooperation with immigration authorities. Businesses lobby public officials for a hands off approach, as do racial identity groups.

Reuters details the influences that derailed HB12. an anti-sanctuary law that was speeding towards its passage in Texas in 2011. Two powerful Texas businessmen joined the lobbying against the bill, legislative sources told Reuters. Houston home builder Bob Perry and grocery chain magnate Charles E. Butt hired one of Austin’s most powerful lobbyists to oppose the legislation.

Bob Perry has long been known as the top Republican donor in Texas. Last year alone, he gave some $7 million to political candidates, mainly Republicans, according to the Texas Ethics Commission. Some $2.5 million of that went to Governor Rick Perry. Bob Perry is not related to the governor.

Butt, who owns the H-E-B grocery store chain, donated close to $1 million to political candidates on both sides of the aisle last year, according to the commission. “They had real reservations about it,” said Bill Miller, the lobbyist hired by the influential businessmen. “They wanted some changes made, and we expressed the reservations they had about it to members, which kind of slowed it down.”

The bill was revived this year, but 2 Texas GOP State Senators, fearful of Latino voters in their district, defected to the Democrat vote count and sunk the measure.

The motive to establish a permissive environment where immigration enforcement is marginal, if not dormant, is partially attributable to the electoral strategem of urban political machines. Office holders and candidates see a homogenous (read – non-assimilating) sub-electorate with potent promise for partisan dominance. James Hedrick, writing in, of immigration and sanctuary policies “Welcoming the Huddled Masses:Sanctuary Policies in American Cities”, notes the following attractive scenario for local politicos:

While the general make-up of the immigrant community may vary from city to city, generally speaking Latinos are strongly supportive of pro-immigrant policies in general. Even among highly assimilated Latinos, over half support explicitly pro-immigrant policies, and overall their support far exceeds that of the public at large

Whether this statement is broadly accurate or not, it is the perception – reinforced by media and academic narratives. As such, local politicians see cocooning illegals as a good bet with a future payoff – legalized voters, who will be grateful. Hedrick also notes the contradiction that these policies are not driven by opinion shifts among the broad electorate, but by politicians, even while ignoring strong public opposition to them. That comes as no surprise to most of my readers.

This also drives the debate at the state and federal level between conservatives supporting immigration enforcement and establishment Republicans and virtually all Democrats, not only opposing enforcement, but advocating what objectively resembles anarchy. That the majority of Hispanic / Latino political interest groups, (La Raza, MECHA, LULAC), are uniformly in favor of open borders and relaxed immigration enforcement, is so well established that it requires no documentation here.

The focus of the next in this series of reports will be the awkward and shameful passing of the buck back and forth by multiple responsible government entities, while citizens languish in the twilight zone of freely rambling predatory illegals.