Quote of the Day:
I came to this country with a great respect for the freedom and safety that the Constitution affords its citizens. Condemning the sanctuary law has nothing to do with race or politics. It’s about protecting Americans and their constitutional rights. There’s a long road ahead in fixing our broken immigration system, but, along the way, local law enforcement should cooperate fully with the federal law.
–Michelle Park Steel, an Orange County supervisor explaining why her county is opting out of California's sanctuary city law
Michelle Park Steel was born in South Korea and grew up in Japan until her family came to the U.S. when she was a teenager, a process that required waiting and filling out endless paperwork. Today she is one of the Orange County supervisors who voted unanimously to opt out of California's sanctuary city law, signed by Governor Jerry Brown.
She has an excellent piece in this morning's Wall Street Journal. She explains the Orange County vote:
The law prohibits state and local law-enforcement officials from informing federal authorities when an illegal alien who has committed a crime is being released from custody. Instead of protecting American citizens, politicians in Sacramento have prioritized the safety of alien criminals. They are provided privileges that American citizens don’t receive—all while endangering innocent people.
California has already seen its share of unnecessary tragedies. It was the lack of partnership and communication between local and federal law enforcement that allowed a five-time deportee with multiple felony convictions to be released by a local sheriff’s department. He went on to murder Kate Steinle, an innocent 32-year-old woman in San Francisco.
Yet many local leaders seem unconcerned. In February Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf warned illegal aliens of planned arrests by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Ms. Schaaf’s political stunt endangered the public by allowing illegal aliens, many of whom had committed crimes, to avoid arrest, and it put at risk the safety of the federal officers conducting the raid.
In Orange County, we reject this kind of reckless behavior. As a member of the Board of Supervisors, I have a say in how to improve my community of 3.2 million residents. We are home to large groups of immigrant communities, and we fully embrace the diverse cultures of our immigrant population. Our concern is about criminal illegal aliens who are falling through the cracks because our sheriff can’t talk to federal immigration agents.
As Ms. Steel's piece appears in the Wall Street Journal, a protest march of people from Central America is approaching the U.S. border through Mexico, trying to enter the U.S. illegally. It is not clear at what point, Texas, California, or elsewhere, they will seek to enter the U.S.
We are sympathetic to people who through no fault of their own are in the U.S. illegally, but we are less sympathetic to people who behave as if the U.S. does not have the right to determine who crosses our borders. That is the beginning of the lawlessness that is encouraged and promoted by sanctuary city laws.
If people claim to be seeking asylum, a sovereign nation has the right to evaluate their claims. If people here illegally commit crimes, it doesn't make sense to shield them from the consequences of their actions, in effect giving them rights citizens don't have.
Immigration has been beneficial to the country and to the people who come here.
The sanctuary city movement threatens to reverse that by creating special "rights" for those who flout our laws.