A just-published New York Times editorial, “Proud to Be a Sanctuary City,” offers a strong defense of states and localities that are pledging to stick up for immigrants in the face of a promised crackdown under a Trump Administration. The editorial, which includes a link to David Leopold’s recent Medium post that explains how and why so-called “sanctuary cities” remain in compliance with federal immigration law, recaps why it is so important that states and cities such as New York “do what they can to welcome and support immigrants, including the unauthorized, and choose not to participate in deportation crackdowns they see as unjust, self-defeating and harmful to public safety.”
See below for the New York Times editorial, available online here:
“If the next president’s immigration agenda includes a pitched battle over “sanctuary” cities, a term Donald Trump uses with disgust, the proper response from places like New York will be: Bring it on.
The word “sanctuary” as Mr. Trump deploys it — a place where immigrant criminals run amok, shielded from the long arm of federal law — is grossly misleading, because cities with “sanctuary” policies cannot obstruct federal enforcement and do not try to. Instead, they do what they can to welcome and support immigrants, including the unauthorized, and choose not to participate in deportation crackdowns they see as unjust, self-defeating and harmful to public safety.
New York City wears that kind of “sanctuary” label proudly. As California considers bold steps to shield its residents from a possible Trump immigration assault, the New York City Council has already built its own strong web of protections. A groundbreaking City Council program has provided free legal representation for children who fled violence in Central America and arrived unaccompanied at the border. Of 1,265 cases accepted under the program, 72 children were granted asylum and 55 obtained lawful permanent residency. The Council has expanded health and legal services in immigrant communities. And it passed bills to keep federal immigration agents out of the Rikers Island jails, and to forbid city police and corrections officers from detaining suspects for deportation, unless there is a judge’s warrant.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, who signed both bills, has also promised since the election to defend immigrant residents from other possible threats, like a registry of Muslims and a roundup of unauthorized immigrants. The city will stop saving the personal records of residents who apply for its municipal ID card, to prevent the data from being abused for a deportation purge.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has echoed these sentiments, promising, though without specifics, that New York State will begin expanding legal assistance for immigrants in the coming year. The effort will be welcome should Mr. Trump begin to lower the boom on unauthorized immigrants — though it’s impossible to know the details of what he will do, given the volatility and imprecision of his many immigration-related threats and promises.
Whatever forms the purge takes, the sanctuary forces will have to be resolute in opposition. One good thing: New York and its allies in cities across the country, in governments, schools and churches, will have the public on their side. A recent Global Strategy Group poll found that Americans oppose, 58 percent to 28 percent, repealing President Obama’s DACA program, which shields the young immigrants called Dreamers from deportation. A Quinnipiac poll taken after the election found that Americans strongly support — 72 percent to 25 percent — allowing unauthorized immigrants to stay, with 60 percent supporting a path to citizenship. This support is higher than at any point in the four years it has been asking the question, Quinnipiac said.”