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viewpoint

Getting paid to break the law

| Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The Trump administration has had a whirlwind of attempts to change policy in the United States. One cannot forget the promises President Donald Trump made to his constituents to crack down on illegal immigration. It is now 2018, and the wall still has not been built by President Trump. Perhaps recent events may lead to progress. However, a fight for federal funds to be cut for sanctuary cities is a prominent issue and real possibility.

Sanctuary cities have stated that they will not pursue undocumented or illegal immigrants unless they are arrested for a crime. In Indiana, this may seem like a far-fetched, inapplicable issue considering laws were passed in 2011 that prevent any town or city in the state from interfering with the jobs of immigration officers.

Coming from a place with one of the top sanctuary cities in the country, Los Angeles, I have found that this issue has become a hot topic of debate. It has been said that President Trump is one of the most radical presidents we have had in our history. His tweets receive more attention than they should at times. Nevertheless, stripping federal funding from sanctuary cities might just be a valid decision that needs to occur.

This is not an attack on immigrants whatsoever. I come from a family comprised of immigrants from both Mexico and Ireland. Our country was built on the foundation of being a melting pot of people from all over the world. Yet, in today’s society, this concept seems to have become an excuse to allow others to break the laws.

From the time we are children, we are taught that breaking the law is unacceptable. This core belief in our society should be at the forefront of this issue. If any individual were to break a federal law, then he or she would be arrested on the spot without much objection. Sanctuary cities should not be able to do so with few, if any, repercussions.

To put it simply, nobody is above the law. While these cities claim to have good intentions, they are going against a federal law. Not only are they breaking the law, but they are being funded to do so. A study found that $16 billion was sent to the top 12 sanctuary cities where one in five illegal immigrants live. Billions of dollars are being sent to cities that are blatantly disregarding the laws of the government that is in fact funding them.

The threat of being defunded is a tactic being implemented by the Trump administration to deter these sanctuary cities from withholding information regarding their interference with the jobs of immigration officers. It is almost sad to see that it has had to come down to threats of defunding in order to have cities comply with the laws of the country that they are in. As of this month, the justice department sent letters to sanctuary cities stating that if they did not meet the demands of the government, then they could face not only court time but the recovery of federal grants that were given to them.

A survey was conducted that found that 80 percent of voters believe that authorities must follow the laws regarding illegal immigrants that the federal government has put forth. The public does not support the actions of the cities that they call home. Perhaps defunding sanctuary cities will be the only way in which the federal government can succeed in pushing for compliance with the law. Without public support and a blatant disregard for the threats of the department of justice, sanctuary cities may find themselves fighting a losing battle as they continue to try and protect the policies that they have implemented on their own.

It’s important to note, however, that this is not a call for mass deportation of undocumented immigrants. This would negatively impact the labor market and economy of the United States. Fair treatment of immigrants that have done nothing wrong is also a demand of many across the country. Yet the failure of sanctuary cities to report the information that they have obtained when coming across undocumented immigrants is grounds enough to warrant defunding. A person would not keep their same income after being arrested and sent to prison for breaking a federal law. The sanctuary cities should be treated no differently.

Defunding is a primary solution to an ongoing problem. However, the United States has a long way to go before immigration policy is perfected. The process to become a citizen takes years and is often discouraging for many that come into this country looking for a better life. Perhaps this is where we as a country need to start in order to help curb the massive amount of unrest that has gripped the country. Maybe then sanctuary cities would not need to break federal law.

Nicole Mannion is a sophomore at the University of Notre Dame. Originally from Rancho Cucamonga, California, she currently lives in Pasquerilla West Hall and is pursuing a double major in Political Science and Film, Television and Theatre.

 

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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