Time to End the Sanctuary Cities Experiment: It Couldn’t Be More Obvious.
If Thomas Edison hadn’t repeatedly tried and failed (1,000 times), paid attention to results, and modified his approach to fix each flaw, the invention of the light bulb might have been in question. Trial, and error, admitting mistakes, acknowledging the obvious, and correcting course is the basis of scientific endeavor. Unfortunately, any such objective scrutiny of results and applied remedies is often missing in the public policy process, particularly when it comes to sanctuary policies for illegal aliens. Unlike Edison, leftist politicians who put in place sanctuary havens for lawbreakers now refuse to recognize the cause and effect of their colossal mistakes.
Yet, in the midst of Biden’s Border Crisis that fuels massive flows of migrants to states and major urban areas within them, the evidence is now crystal clear: Sanctuary policies are an abject failure resulting in skyrocketing costs, increased gangs, drugs, crime, housing shortages, and public outcry.
Sanctuary policies – generally referring to municipalities (or even entire states) that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities – exist in some 600 cities and counties. Three sanctuary jurisdictions, in particular, are currently experiencing dramatic cause and effect due to their policies.
- Chicago: No one can say there hasn’t been enough time to measure results in the Windy City. Chicago became a sanctuary for illegal aliens back in 1985 when Mayor Harold Washington signed an executive order allowing all persons, regardless of immigration status, access to city services and benefits. That order was formalized into the “Welcoming City Ordinance” in 2006 which barred local law enforcement from cooperating with federal immigration authorities. Taking Chicago’s lead, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker signed a similar order for the entire state in 2021. The result has been the arrival of 628k illegal aliens costing state taxpayers $2.9 billion annually. In just the last year, more than 20,000 migrants have settled in Chicago, many of whom are now sleeping at O’Hare International Airport, at local police stations, or on the streets. Overall costs to house recent migrants tops $330 million. Rather than addressing the root cause and reverse sanctuary policies, both Illinois Gov. Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson are blaming the federal government while demanding aid and work permits for migrants.
- New York City: Like Chicago, the Big Apple’s sanctuary policies are longstanding…and well known in migrant circles. In 1989 then-Mayor Ed Koch (D) signed an executive order barring the disclosure of information about an individual’s immigration status unless required by law or if the subject “is suspected … of engaging in criminal activity.” Koch also issued executive orders allowing illegal aliens to access city services, which were subsequently reissued by Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R) in 2003, which solidified the city’s reputation as a preferred destination for migrants. Not surprisingly, an estimated 125,000 asylum seekers have arrived in the city in just the past year and a half, with 10,000 more arriving each month. In response, New York’s current mayor, Eric Adams, is sounding a stark warning about the growing migrant crisis, saying that it will “destroy” the city. To manage costs, the mayor has proposed a 5 oercent across-the-board budget cut in New York City services, including slashing the New York Police Department — already short-staffed at a time of rising crime — by 13.5 percent over the next two years. Throughout the chaos, the mayor has made no mention of reversing New York’s sanctuary policies. Instead he has led the chorus of sanctuary-supporting elected leaders blaming the federal government (and the Governor of Texas), pleading for financial assistance, and requesting work permits for migrants.
- Massachusetts: By way of a 2017 Massachusetts’ Supreme Judicial Court ruling, the Bay State became a sanctuary for illegal aliens who now have no worries that local law enforcement will coordinate with federal authorities on immigration issues. Illegal aliens are eligible for MassHealth benefits, and thanks to the newly enacted “Work and Family Mobility Act” (WFMA), driver’s licenses are available to all regardless of immigration status. The magnetizing effect of its sanctuary policies is that 292,000 illegal aliens, and 101,000 of their U.S.-born children, now live in Massachusetts — most in the Boston metro area — costing state taxpayers $2.91 billion annually. While eye-popping, these figures do not account for the recent surge. On top of 5,500 migrant families already living in state shelters at a cost of $45 million a month, another 100 families arrive each day seeking housing. And yet, not only does Governor Maura Healey refuse to acknowledge that the state’s bad policies have directly led to bad outcomes, she is defiantly doubling down at the same time she is pleading for federal financial assistance: “I am encouraging communities to keep welcoming those families who wish to resettle in all corners of Massachusetts.”
George Bernard Shaw once observed, “No question is so difficult to answer as that to which the answers are obvious.” While sanctuary-supporting politicians, blinded by the pursuit of power and corrupted by special interests, may have difficulty seeing the obvious, the citizens of New York, Chicago, and Boston can see it, and for them the answer is easy: End sanctuary policies now.
Sanctuary policies lack any inherent public benefit and impose adverse impact on local communities. They must be reversed because if not now in the middle of unprecedented turmoil with incontrovertible proof of failure, then when – if ever – would it be time?