Sanctuary Cities and the ‘Rule of Law’
July 12, 2015 6 Comments
We have had much to say in the last few years about the “Rule through and under the law”. It is the very basis of why our society works. Without the security of our property, there is no valid reason to build a small business, invest, or in truth do almost any of the things that have made America. David Harsanyi over at The Federalist had some thoughts the other day, as well.
So let me get this straight: America is thrown into an overwrought political debate about the Confederate battle flag—a relic that has absolutely nothing to do with the shooting in Charleston—but is unwilling to engage in a conversation about the deliberate disregard of federal law that directly leads to the murder of at least one young woman?
That’s basically where we stand. After sending mixed signals, The Hill reports that Democrats will be making a concerted effort to defend San Francisco’s sanctuary laws and killing of Kathryn Steinle along the city’s famous waterfront. Most Republicans will avoid the matter altogether for the sake of political expediency. Soon enough, I imagine, it’ll be xenophobic to bring it up at all. One of these conversations, after all, is risk-free, jammed with self-satisfying preening about the right sort of evils. The other, morally complex—especially for the supporters of immigration reform (like myself) [and me, Neo]—and fraught with electoral consequences.
But let’s set aside immigration politics for a moment and consider a detail that’s often lost in this debate: Fact is, some people in America are free to ignore laws they don’t like, while others are not. Hundreds of jurisdictions nullify federal immigration law, not because they question the constitutionality of law, but because they find those laws ideologically problematic and immoral. And when I say “some” jurisdictions, I mean entirely liberal ones.
One of my British friends, yesterday, commented to me in an email that they didn’t understand how Hillary Clinton wasn’t in jail, instead of standing for president. I wish I had an answer myself.
Generally speaking, the Tenth Amendment is viewed as an artifact of a regressive time that is only used to advance racism and impede progress. So 1990s! So when Jan Brewer signs an Arizona law requiring police to determine whether a person was in the country legally critics claim it will mean an explosion of racial profiling by the state, and the Obama administration does everything it can to stop it. Immigration law is a federal matter, as you all know.
And when the administration is unsatisfied with Texas and other states enforcing the same federal law, Obama unilaterally, and without any of the oversight from the democratic process he pretends to cherish, exempts undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children from the law. Now, immigration is a matter ofWashington edict, not something for the states or, perhaps, even Congress, to worry about.
But San Francisco, well, it’s the purview of the city council to decide what happens—as long as those decisions comport with long-term liberal goals.
When cities—more than 200 of them—decide to pass their own laws “protecting” illegal immigrants, we are not talking about some calibration or prioritization of “enforcement” levels. The media often use a euphemism about a “lack of cooperation” between cites and DC when, in fact, jurisdictions are simply invalidating federal law. Can you imagine the reaction from the administration if Dallas passed an ordinance allowing local police to free criminals who had broken federal gun laws or hate-crime laws? Can you imagine what would happen if 200 cities did the same?
It seems to me, that one of the most pernicious effects of this entire thing, not excluding what appears to be the politicization of the Supreme Court, is the very obvious fact that it undermines the respect for the law. So many of us love Who Shot Liberty Valance not least because we have an instinctual knowledge that the rule of the law is preferable to the rule of the gun. Even when the gun is carried by a good man, it is always better to be under the rule of objective law. increasingly, we are not, and because of that very fact, our society is disintegrating, and becoming little more than a well equipped jungle.
When Ransom Stoddard is judicially murdered, we will have to go back to Tom Doniphan. It’s that simple, and that terrible.