Sanctuary policies are anti-immigrant

Guest Opinion

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Rep. Greg Chaney (R - Caldwell)

There is no denying the importance of immigration to our American heritage. Immigrants tend to be some of the most hardworking, family-oriented, God-fearing people among us. The system by which they are admitted, however, is broken: the product of decades of gross mismanagement by the federal government. The overwhelming number of undocumented immigrants is far more the fault of the feds than the undocumented immigrants themselves.

I’m beginning to see why the system has remained broken so long: dare to suggest any sort of change to immigration policy and you’re instantly chastised as hateful, xenophobic, racist, un-Christian, and anti-immigrant. In the week since I introduced legislation barring the adoption of sanctuary city policies in the Idaho legislature I’ve been called each name on this list — and far more that wouldn’t be printable. However, the adoption of sanctuary policies is the most anti-immigrant thing a governing body could do.

Sanctuary policies bar law enforcement from cooperating with federal immigration authorities when someone they arrest isn’t in the country legally. The bill I introduced would have zero impact on any undocumented immigrant that hasn’t also been arrested for a violation of state law. It blocks the reckless practices currently in vogue in California and other liberal bastions around the country. Cities and counties that bar cooperation with immigration authorities become magnets for the small fraction of undocumented immigrants who have dishonest or malicious motivations.

Becoming more attractive to the bad element not only creates public safety problems for the community at large, it is especially dangerous to the rest of the immigrant community. These individuals infiltrate, victimize, and hide themselves within the immigrant community—their crimes are most likely to be against members of their own culture. Sanctuary polices provide protection to the wrong group of undocumented immigrants at the expense of those working to better their families, communities, and our economy.

Sanctuary policies obstruct meaningful immigration reform. Enforcement alone is insufficient to fix the immigration crisis, but it is a necessary element of any comprehensive fix. Millions of immigrants present and future are relying on us to allow the dysfunction no longer. To the degree sanctuary policies prevent or obstruct meaningful change they block help to countless refugees and immigrants across the globe. Those committing crimes are protected at the expense of thousands on waiting lists worldwide, and millions more that are here already that will never be able to fully come out of the shadows without reform.

To make matters worse, many on the left further confuse the issue by trying to blend the sanctuary city issue (affecting those here illegally) with the refugee issue (relating to who comes legally). Whether they are simply confused or intentionally trying to deceive, they are not helpful to the discussion. Blending the plight of the war refugee with the cause of the incarcerated undocumented immigrant does justice to neither the refugee nor the undocumented population at large. In the end, they harm the people they seek to help most of all.

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Dist. 10 Rep. Greg Chaney introduced H76 in the Idaho Legislature last month that would ban city and county governments from adopting sanctuary policies.

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