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American Borders Forum

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Sanctuary Cities: Left of Center View

The entire debate over sanctuary policies and the cities that employ them is little more than the jurisdictional battle that has been going on between regional, state and the federal government for years. The issues occasionally rotate, same sex marriage, medical marijuana, abortion, assisted suicide, all have gone down this same path. The Federal government passes a law and the City/State publicly declares that the law will not be enforced by their agencies or in their jurisdiction. Itís too bad, because immigration is an issue that should be debated and handled on a national level, not a regional one.

Cities and States should be allowed to prioritize the issues they focus on and to some extent they have the right to amend and/or interpret laws. A City should be able to pass legislation as long as it doesnít conflict with an existing State or Federal law, the same should be true of State legislation not in conflict with Federal law. Regional and local bodies should be able to write the statutes that will affect them directly. If there is Federal legislation that exists in conflict then there are the proper channels that can be used to overturn or amend the law. Since it is the law of the land, Federal law should be simpler, and less specific. Spending millions of taxpayer dollars because the State of Maine decided to recognize domestic partners or because San Francisco wonít enforce the archaic Sodomy laws is petty, but immigration is a completely different story.

Immigration is something that is and should be under Federal jurisdiction. Once inside the country everyone is free to move about unrestricted, the only control is at the border. However, when and if those that are here as representatives (citizens) of another country find themselves in trouble with the law in this country it falls to the Federal government to step in. No offence to the fine folks who live there but Aberdeen, Idaho, population 1,840 has no business negotiating with Cuba. In fact most of America probably prefers that they not negotiate on our behalf. Sanctuary cities should be like nuclear free or drug free zones, go ahead and pass it but do it as a proclamation not as legislation. It is also perfectly fair for a City or State to proclaim that poverty, employment, roads or even the annual regional fair are higher priorities than immigration, they just donít have the authority to prevent Federal laws from being enforced within their jurisdiction. There are government agencies in place to enforce immigration laws; they should simply continue to do so. City officials that obstruct Federal investigations should be charged with obstruction of justice and Federal funds to regional departments that no longer comply with the requirements for funding should have that funding cut off. This should be the policy for all local and regional governments that refuse to follow Federal law. Just as the city of New York should loose funding until they are forced to comply with Federal immigration law and the enforcement of that law, so too should the southern states that have essentially made abortion illegal.

One final point specific to immigration, many Churches have declared themselves sanctuaries for people here illegally who are fleeing their countries of origin. This should be honored and respected since that is what the Church has been doing since long before there was an America, and as this is a land of no one religion the same protection should be offered to other faiths and their official places of worship. But understand, Church offered sanctuary, or that from any other religious group, is very different from that offered by a city, especially in that the Church can only offer itís protection to those on their grounds, once you step off you fall back into the governments jurisdiction. This is a practice that dates back to the days when the Vatican was first recognized as a separate nation, and as such itís buildings granted quasi-embassy status. Cities, however, are simply a small part of the larger nation and as such should be required to follow the law of the land, regardless of whether or not they agree with it.

Kyle Pesonen - Staff Writer | E-mail Comments on this column.

Got a liberal viewpoint? We want to know what you think.

Next week's subject: Open Borders

Send in your view from the Left to be our featured Left of Center View for the week.

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Last Week's View from the Left: Common Sense Laws

Previous Weeks Views from the Left:
Rise & Fall
Outsourcing & Insourcing
English
Amnesty vs. Reality
Defining Immigration





Sanctuary Cities: Right of Center View

In recent months there have been a number of cities across the nation that have declared or re-affirmed themselves as ďsanctuary citiesĒ. This means that as a policy they will not make any efforts to enforce immigration laws within their cities and unless directly requested will not aid in ICE efforts to conduct raids on places suspected of harboring illegal immigrants.

I guess to some extent that is their prerogative but I think that perhaps it should also be the federal governmentís prerogative to withhold a percentage of federal funds from the cities for their lack of cooperation with the federal government. There is an implied relationship between cities, states and the federal government that there is a level of cooperation inherent to that relationship. That relationship is a hierarchical relationship putting state laws over local laws and federal laws over state laws. The ultimate authority is supposed to be in the hands of the federal government. This creates a chain of command of sorts and the strength of the rule of law to some degree is supported by the respecting of that chain of command. That is why the U.S. Supreme Court is the last stop for legal disputes after they have gone through the local, county, state and federal processes. The ultimate authority lies at the top and the decisions of those at the top are the rules of law that supersede all other laws on the subject.

With that in mind, it seems to me that for cities to declare that they are above federal law sets a dangerous precedent. I actually believe in the value of change through civil disobedience (Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. etc.) but that should be at the individual citizen level of organization. When a governmental body practices civil disobedience as an institutional policy, it weakens the rule of law as a principle. Government officials need to obey the law until it is not the law anymore. They should work for change and even practice civil disobedience outside of their official capacity if they feel they must but when called upon to uphold the laws they swore an oath to uphold and defend, they should not waver in their duty. They can voice their opposition to the law and state that it is wrong but while it is law it must be upheld or it invalidates the system of government that passed the law in the first place.

If these officials cannot follow the law they must be removed on the grounds of failing to do their duty to uphold the law or the federal government must take some action to hold them accountable for not honoring their commitments to the nation by severing federal financial ties to their cities. We are unquestionably a nation of immigrants but we are also a nation of laws. Our elected officials must uphold those laws or they endanger the fabric of our system of government. They donít have the luxury of choice in upholding the laws of the land. If they do not uphold one law because they feel it is unfair to one group, how can they in good conscience enforce others that may be unfair to other groups? Who decides which laws are fair and which are not? Why have higher levels of government at all if enforcement of the laws they pass is going to be subject to the whims of the people at the lower levels of government? Some might call that a slippery slope. I will just say that it is a troublesome precedent in my view.
Troy Wilson-Ripsom - Staff Writer | E-mail Comments on this column.

Got a conservative viewpoint? We want to know what you think.

Next week's subject: Open Borders

Send in your view from the Right to be our featured Right of Center View for the week.

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Last Week's View from the Right: Let's Get It Right This Time

Previous Weeks Views from the Right:
Once Again Congress Fails
American Jobs
English Also vs. English Only
Amnesty
Defining Immigration



Get Involved

Do you sit and yell at the TV when politicians come on? Do you shake your head sadly whenever you see a homeless veteran? Is that all you tend to do?

It's time to put up or shut up America. We all love to talk about how we could do things better or how we would do it if we were in charge. Well, it's time to put your money where your mouth is. If you can think of it, you can write it down. If you can write it down, you can type it. If you can type it, you can e-mail it and if you can e-mail it, you can send it here.

We at Reform America are committed to giving voice to anyone who wants to put their ideas out there to make our nation a better place. As the readership grows, we are able to take those views to a wider and wider audience. Grassroots campaigns begin with voices speaking out. You have opinions. Voice them. We aren't about promoting conservative or liberal over the other. We aren't about pro-this or anti-that. We're about Americans and the First Amendment. Reform America is about politics by, for and of the people. You are the people. You only need to speak up. America is listening. Send your article to: stories@reform-america.net

A Plan

The one major thing that seems to be lacking in the immigration debate is a real plan that addresses the legitimate concerns with illegal immigration. There are strong opinions on both sides and a lot of rhetoric but there isnít really any solid plan being promoted to address the illegal immigration issue in a way that is both fair and logical.

So, that being said here is my idea:Read More

Trucking Cross Borders

This is mainly a concern for the trucking business. If we allow these people to come into our country, bringing cargo that we in America have, and can supply, then we are saying that the American working people are not needed, and have lost all say to legally enforced DOT (Department of Transportation) laws.Read More



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