The term “sanctuary” conjures up an image of a place of serenity, refuge, and safety. Therefore, one would expect that a “sanctuary city” would be a city that creates a place of serenity, refuge, and safety for its residents. Under the current meaning of “sanctuary city,” nothing could be further from the truth.

America’s “sanctuary cities” are municipalities in rebellion, refusing to abide by the law and allowing illegal aliens, including dangerous aliens with criminal records, to run free without fear of being detained for their illegal immigration status. Over 40 Democrats in the U.S. Senate voted Wednesday to protect these cities from the rule of law by blocking a bill put forward by Sen. Patrick Toomey that would have cracked down on these hotbeds of lawlessness.

“Abuse of the immigration system and a lack of interior immigration enforcement were unwittingly working together to support terrorist activity.”

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Let us now consider just how safe and secure residents of sanctuary cities are and who is actually being provided with safety and refuge in those jurisdictions.

sanctuary cities were established by mayors and other politicians to shield aliens illegally present in the United States. The foe these illegal aliens allegedly need protection from is detection by the immigration law enforcement personnel whose mission is to secure our nation’s borders and enforce our immigration laws.

Our immigration laws were enacted to protect America’s national security and to protect the lives and livelihoods of Americans. These laws are utterly and totally blind as to race, religion, or ethnicity.

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), the most important body of law that is enforced by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), enumerates the categories of aliens who are to be excluded from entry into the country.

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Among these classes of aliens who are to be prevented from entering the United States are those who suffer from dangerous communicable diseases or extreme mental illness. As are aliens who are convicted felons, human rights violators, war criminals, terrorists, and spies.

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Crucially, the law also specifically bars aliens who would seek unlawful employment, thus displacing American workers or driving down their wages, and aliens who would likely become public charges.

sanctuary cities therefore will naturally attract these illegal aliens who then are able to bring with them pestilence, crime, violence, an overloaded labor market, low wages — and even terror.

The official government report, “9/11 and Terrorist Travel — Staff Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States,” was a key document produced by the 9/11 Commission.

This report focused specifically on the ability of the terrorists to travel around the world, enter the United States, and ultimately embed themselves in the United States as they went about their deadly preparations. The preface of this report begins this way:

“It is perhaps obvious to state that terrorists cannot plan and carry out attacks in the United States if they are unable to enter the country. Yet prior to Sept. 11, while there were efforts to enhance border security, no agency of the U.S. government thought of border security as a tool in the counterterrorism arsenal. Indeed, even after 19 hijackers demonstrated the relative ease of obtaining a U.S. visa and gaining admission into the United States, border security still is not considered a cornerstone of national security policy. We believe … that it must be made one.”

Any community that provides safe haven for illegal aliens willfully endangers the lives of it residents.

A section later in the report titled  “Terrorist Travel Tactics by Plot,” was even more blunt about the dangers of irregular immigration enforcement to the safety of Americans.

“Thus, abuse of the immigration system and a lack of interior immigration enforcement were unwittingly working together to support terrorist activity.”

Simply stated, the terrorists concealed themselves in various towns and cities and many were illegally present in the United States. Yet their illegal immigration status was not uncovered until after the attacks.

Implementation of sanctuary policies in such cities thus has the potential to greatly exacerbate the threats posed to national security and public safety by bad actors taking advantage of the gaps in immigration enforcement.

These misguided policies can turn these cities into magnets that attract still more terrorists and fugitives who need to “fly under the radar” while hiding in plain sight.

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Any community that provides safe haven for illegal aliens willfully endangers the lives of it residents.

Even as concerns about increased threats of terror attacks are the topic of a succession of Congressional hearings, so-called sanctuary cities continue to flourish — with the tacit approval of the administration, even though they are clearly operating in violation of federal law.

Consider these provisions of Title 8, U.S.C. 1324(a) Offenses:

  • Harboring — Subsection 1324(a)(1)(A)(iii) makes it an offense for any person who — knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that an alien has come to, entered, or remains in the United States in violation of law, conceals harbors, or shields from detection, or attempts to conceal, harbor, or shield from detection, such alien in any place, including any building or any means of transportation.
  • Encouraging/Inducing — Subsection 1324(a)(1)(A)(iv) makes it an offense for any person who — encourages or induces an alien to come to, enter, or reside in the United States, knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that such coming to, entry, or residence is or will be in violation of law.
  • Conspiracy/Aiding or Abetting — Subsection 1324(a)(1)(A)(v) expressly makes it an offense to engage in a conspiracy to commit or aid or abet the commission of the foregoing offenses.

When will law-abiding Americans finally find “sanctuary” in their home towns and cities, and when will our political leaders make that goal their first priority?

Michael W. Cutler is a retired INS senior special agent and a senior fellow at CAPS (Californians for Population Stabilization). Cutler’s career with the INS spanned some 30 years and he has provided expert witness testimony at more than a dozen congressional hearings.