San Francisco has held itself out as a sanctuary city—a city that will take in and protect illegal aliens from Federal law and Federal law enforcers. Aside from the legal aspects of violating Federal law, this is in keeping with federalism and the 9th and 10th Amendments, and it does not run afoul of Article I, Section 10. Even were such a thing legal, though, it’s a foolish move, but as the motorboat skipper who currently sits in the Secretary of State’s chair has said, in the United States folks have the right to be stupid.
It’s a bit of a reach, however, for the city to demand taxpayer money to pay the legal expenses of illegal aliens as they’re haled into court to answer for their illegal entry or for deportation proceedings. San Francisco Supervisor David Campos:
We are proud to be a sanctuary city. And we’re not only proud to stand up for that, but we’re going to invest the resources needed to make sure that the 44,000 undocumented people who live in the city and county of San Francisco have, at a minimum, legal representation if they’re taken into immigration court.
Leaving aside the…misunderstanding…Campos illustrates—the reason these folks are undocumented is because they’re here illegally—this is a demand for taxpayers to pay for these illegal aliens’ legal costs. If there’s truly a belief on the part of the (legal) residents of the city that such costs should be covered, there’d be no problem raising the fund out of private donations.
Surely, too, a city that insists on subsidizing housing costs in a limited supply market has better use for the taxpayers’ money. Beyond that, as any high school student learns in his economics class, when something gets subsidized—when the cost of that thing gets artificially lowered from the perspective of potential customers—demand for that thing rises. This move by San Francisco isn’t going to make life easier for the existing illegal aliens, it’s only going to get the city even more illegal aliens—adding to the strain on that already limited housing supply and thinning, among other city facilities, the available housing subsidies.
“Former detainees” claim that their “lack of access to an immigration lawyer turned their lives upside down.” This is inaccurate. What turned their lives upside down were two things: their decision to pull up stakes and come to the United States—a courageous move and often well done—and their decision to enter our country illegally. The consequences of that second decision only flow from that decision, they do not at all turn upside down lives that already were so.
In some respects, the concerns of the illegal aliens and those who support them are valid: it should be much easier to enter our nation legally, and our immigration system desperately wants reform in this area. Such reform, far from contradicting our need to secure our borders, complements such border reform quite nicely. These, though, are reforms that only the Federal government can achieve. If the sanctuary cities want meaningful help for their illegal aliens, they should consider spending the funds they want to allocate to “legal representation” on efforts to move the Federal government to effect those two reforms.
That would reduce the number of illegal aliens in the cities’ “sanctuaries” quite nicely.