Begin penalizing sanctuary cities

Here is the definition of a sanctuary city: In the United States, a sanctuary city is a municipality that has adopted a policy of protecting unauthorized immigrants by not prosecuting them for violating federal immigration laws and by ensuring that all residents have access to city services, regardless of immigration status.

Such a policy can be set out expressly in a law (de jure) or observed only in practice (de facto). The term applies generally to cities not using municipal funds or resources to enforce national immigration laws. The cities usually forbid their police or municipal employees to inquire about a person’s immigration status or share such information with immigration enforcement. Of course, there are illegal immigrants who have committed acts of violence and are breaking more laws besides just being in a country they are not suppose to be in.

To some that does not matter. Whether you agree with it or not, law is the law. But without penalties for failure to comply with them, the statutes are useless.

During President Barack Obama’s administration, many municipalities, including New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and that ultra-liberal bellwether, San Francisco, declared themselves “sanctuary cities” for illegal immigrants. Law enforcement agencies in sanctuary cities were ordered not to assist federal immigration authorities in any way. In Ohio, the mayor of Cincinnati proclaimed the city a sanctuary city just days ago.

Obama did not seem to care with enforcement of laws in place, in part because he did not agree with many of the laws in question. He seemed to have forgotten his oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution and the laws of the United States.

The new sheriff in town, President Donald Trump, vows to penalize sanctuary cities. Federal funding to them will be cut off, he has said.

That is easier said than done. Some money sent to local governments is required by law. Other funding, such as that for schools, should not be interrupted because it hurts people, not officials in the these cities.

Still, Trump should go ahead with his plan. Perhaps a few hundred million dollars’ worth of suspended highway improvements would remind sanctuary city officials of their pledges to enforce the law. Call it a punishment for disregarding the law.

Here too is a peripheral topic to ponder: Could victims sue sanctuary cities when injured by those being protected by said cities? Could sheltering evolve into court cases by citizens injured or victimized by someone who has no legal right to be in that city in the first place? You would think that harboring or conspiring to hide felons opens up a liability to those defying the law by hiding those classified as criminals. Laws are made to be obeyed. By all of us. Accent on all laws. Accent on all of us.