Have you asked yourself, why are mayors of the largest sanctuary cities willing to defy the federal government on immigration?
Well, the answer is becoming all too clear: Because they believe they can have their cake — defy the government — and eat it too — keep receiving the funds the Feds are threatening to take away.
The mayors have reason to be confident that the threat of losing federal funding will never materialize.
To begin with, the funds are not in one pot that the government can simply yank when it wants to; they are disbursed through a maze of programs that are not easily disentangled or eliminated. Secondly, on an average by state, about 65 percent of the federal funding has to do with law enforcement — Medicare or Medicaid programs that are untouchable.
Take, for example, the city of New York. Its total federal aid is around $700 million dollars annually, but its total federal budget (for FY 2017) is $82 billion.
You get the picture?
In Los Angeles, the federal aid under threat is $466 million, while the total budget is $9 billion.
In this case the federal funds may seem to be more significant... but if you compare it to the fact that illegals pay an average of $3 billion in taxes, why would L.A. want to go after them to protect the paltry (by comparison) federal aid?
I cannot leave out that any move against illegal aliens in California would be met by a major outcry from the agricultural moguls, the construction tycoons, and the hospitality magnets who depend on illegals to give them a larger profit margin. That's why in California "E-verify" is a bad word.
Let’s not forget that the almost half of the undocumented live in California, around 2.6 million. The other half is spread throughout Illinois, New York, Texas, and Florida.
The work these illegals perform is part of the fabric of those local economies; going after them will be felt across the entire economic spectrum and the mayors know it.
Next, the mayors are confident the law is on their side: The constitution says the federal government can’t make a local cop into an immigration agent. Immigration is the responsibility of the federal government.
By law as well, those threats can't materialize because there is no connection between those funds and complying with the new immigration policies signed by President Trump.
The White House needs to go to Congress and request that it pass a law that makes receiving federal funding conditional on complying with its immigration policies.
On top of that, there is no guarantee that Congress will pass such a law because even conservatives consider state rights sacred... and this could smell like the feds imposing on the states.
So how come President Obama was able to deport 2.5 million — and the mainstream media didn’t make any noise?
Mind you: Obama deported more undocumented than any other president in history.
These massive deportations could not have been done if cities were obstructing the federal government.
The cities didn’t stop Obama then, and nothing is stopping the federal government now from apprehending and deporting criminal illegal aliens.
During Obama’s presidency, the locals refused to turn over aliens who did not commit violent crimes; under Trump they are vowing to do the same. Driving with a fake driver’s license is not the same as manslaughter, but they both are winding up in jail.
The mayors fear that the president’s relentless pursuit of illegals, and his attempt to make law enforcement immigration agents, will make them reluctant to cooperate with the police and report crimes. That translates into more crime and lawlessness.
Finally, there is the moral argument:
In this country there are approximately 11 million people living in the shadows. More than half of them have been here for more than 13 years, and an overwhelming majority of them are contributing to our economic growth and not harming our citizens.
They are not cattle; they are people with homes, children, neighbors, friends, and churches who are willing to plead with the local authorities not to rat on them because they have become a familiar face, not just a federal number.
At this hour, what is sorely needed is a compromise between the federal government and the sanctuary cities' local officials.
Both sides need to listen to each other and see the validity of their respective points of view.
Deport expeditiously any illegal immigrant with a serious criminal record. The Hispanic community does not want them here either.
But be careful, while going after the “bad hombres,” not to cast the net so wide and indiscriminately that “good hombres” are picked up as well. I repeat, a petty theft charge is not comparable to a murder charge, but they both send people to the county jail.
As I have warned before: all these moves are not the solution to our immigration problem; they are only stopgap measures.
The only solution will be the compromise immigration reform law the president promised us at his important speech to the joint session of congress. With that law in an orderly fashion this country will decide who stays and who goes.
Nothing less will do.
Elvira Salazar is a five-time Emmy award-winning broadcast journalist and news anchor of MEGA TV. She has interviewed Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush and was the only U.S. Spanish language television journalist to obtain a one-on-one interview with Cuban leader Fidel Castro. Salazar wrote her first book, "If God Be With You, Who Shall Be Against You?" selling out the first edition in three months. She holds a B.A. in Communication from the University of Miami and earned her Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. To read more of her reports — Click Here Now.
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