The Sanctuary Country - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
The Sanctuary Country

When national politicians fret about states that defy federal laws or even national attitudes, they aren’t talking about “sanctuary cities.” No, that kind of defiance meets with their approval. If those cities flew confederate flags or tardily issued gay marriage licenses, pols could work themselves up into a lather about them. But ignoring federal immigration law? That’s no big deal, until an illegal immigrant in one of those cities shoots somebody and then the finger-pointing begins.

Pols have to pretend to care about the murder in San Francisco by an illegal immigrant, Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, who has re-entered the country repeatedly. But once the outcry over that dissipates, they will resume their pro-amnesty noises.

The Obama administration, which has condemned states like Arizona for cracking down on illegal immigration and praised states like California for going soft on it, is taking no responsibility for San Francisco’s policies. Never mind that all of Obama’s political friends backed the city’s sanctuary policies. Never mind that the Obama administration loosened federal policy to permit that disobedience. San Francisco’s City and County Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi let it be known that Obama’s immigration officials knew all about the city’s lax policies.

“We have had direct meetings with the deputy director of Homeland Security and Director Johnson himself of Homeland Security earlier this year, with a number of the Bay Area sheriffs, and others, who have said that our municipal laws are changing,” he told the press.

Yet Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released a statement saying that it had put out a “detainer” for Lopez-Sanchez—a detainer request that it knew San Francisco has a formal policy of disregarding.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest naturally blames the dysfunction not on local amnesty policies nor on Obama’s indulgence of them but on the conservative politicians who have labored the hardest to try and stop illegal immigration. If they had just accepted Obama’s immigration “reform,” all would be well, he argued: “The fact is that the president has done everything within his power to make sure that we are focusing our law enforcement resources on criminals and those who pose a threat to public safety and it’s because of the political efforts of Republicans that we have not been able to make the kind of investment that we’d like to make in securing our border and keeping our community safe.”

The press hasn’t bothered to question this Orwellian statement. It is too busy expressing outrage at Donald Trump, whose views on illegal immigration are treated as the true threat to decency in our times. The empty chatter over Trump’s fragmentary remark, which wasn’t so much inaccurate as inelegant, is one more indication that the problem of illegal immigration will never be solved in an era of political correctness. Striking a pose in favor of “inclusion” is the only pressing political priority now. Jeb Bush claimed that Trump’s dim view of illegal immigration does “not represent the values of the Republican party.” If that’s true, then those values are pro-amnesty.

While lecturing Trump on the dangers of overgeneralizing, establishment pols engage in the same practice themselves, except their overgeneralizations are in favor of illegal immigrants. It is okay to demagogue the issue on behalf of amnesty by waxing poetic about the glorious benefits and noble motivations of illegal immigration.  “Yes, they broke the law, but it’s not a felony. It’s an act of love, it’s an act of commitment to your family,” Jeb Bush has said of illegal immigrants. That’s the kind of overgeneralization the media likes to hear.

Out of such sentimentalism has come de facto amnesty policies and in time it will cement a new immigration law that formalizes them. The upshot of it all is that people like Lopez-Sanchez will keep coming. They know that America has chosen political correctness over law and order.

Lopez-Sanchez told the press that he deliberately went to San Francisco because of its sanctuary policies. Its proud embrace of illegal immigrants foreshadows America’s future as a sanctuary country.

“Xenophobia” once meant opposition to legal immigration. Now it means in mainstream parlance even opposition to illegal immigration. Whether that opposition is presented thoughtfully or bombastically, it will still be branded “racist.” Consequently, no politician with any real interest in solving the problem of illegal immigration can be elected. American politics has become a game in which the winner is decided not by the capacity to solve problems but by the capacity to avoid them while projecting the proper progressive attitudes. It is that kind of demagoguery which a sane country would fear the most.

George Neumayr
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George Neumayr, a senior editor at The American Spectator, is author most recently of The Biden Deception: Moderate, Opportunist, or the Democrats' Crypto-Socialist?
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