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Why sanctuary cities are not an example of federalism



There’s a false narrative circulating that claims sanctuary cities are an example of the proper use of federalism that keeps law enforcement powers in the hands local, city, county, and state governments as it pertains to illegal immigrant sanctuary status. On the surface, this argument may actually make sense to some. Dig a little deeper and it’s clearly not what federalists should embrace.

Briefly, federalism is the belief that powers should be shared between all levels of government starting with the individual and family unit at the top of the pyramid and working its way down to the bottom level, the federal government. When it was first pushed by the founding father federalists such as James Madison and Alexander Hamilton, they fought to make sure the federal government had enough power to be relevant, as their opposition basically wanted states to have all the power. Today federalist tenets have had to refocus on taking powers away from a bloated federal government and return them to the states, counties, cities, communities, and, of course, the individual.

Proponents of sanctuary areas say they’re simply following the principles of limited government federalism by choosing to ignore federal-initiated holds for illegal immigrants who are detained by local jurisdictions. This is false federalism because it suffers from one major flaw.

For states-rights to kick in, one very important criteria must be met. The actions of one location cannot be allowed to have a major detrimental effect on another location. The federal government should only get involved in states’ affairs when their actions influence other states. Such is the case with sanctuary cities and states. Criminal illegal immigrants are not stuck in the city that ignored the federal hold orders. When they release a criminal illegal immigrant, they’re allowing them to roam free across the nation. That means the actions of a state like California can cause harm to residence of neighboring states.

We’re not talking about residents in a state without legal marijuana crossing into another state to buy a joint. We’re talking about people who have entered the country illegally, broken our right to sovereignty, and who pose a clear and present danger to American citizens.

Moreover, it creates an atmosphere of unfairness. As a legal immigrant to the United States, I receive no sanctuary in California. If I have a federal warrant against me and I’m detained for, say, drunk driving in California, they’re not going to release me so I can avoid my federal warrant. If I were an illegal immigrant instead, they would. How backwards is it that my rights as an American citizen are lower than the rights of an illegal immigrant?

Let’s not confuse the real issue, here. This is all about power. The sentiment towards illegal immigrants is both backwards and illogical in cities and states that offer sanctuary to them. Yet politicians know many will continue to vote for them in states like California because to most leftists, hurt feelings are more powerful than actual facts.

I’m JD Rucker. Thank you for listening.