"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."
— Abraham Lincoln
The U.S. Constitution does not have a provision for immigration sanctuary, and there is no legal precedent for it in the history of the United States of America.
When U.S. cities and even entire states declare themselves to be "sanctuaries" for illegal aliens, they act outside the law, and by their actions could be charged with a felony for each violation of federal law by "concealing, harboring, or sheltering illegal aliens" (8 U.S. Code, sections 1324 and 1325; Immigration and Naturalization Act sections 274 and 275).
Illegal entry into the United States — entry without inspection — is a misdemeanor, INA section 275, (8 USC Section 1324). Repeated illegal entry is a felony.
Sanctuary cities and states demonstrate a complete contempt for the laws of the United States, a contempt that threatens to undermine the Republic. Among those residing in U.S. sanctuary cities are sleeper terrorists and others whose purpose is to destroy the United States.
Knowing full well that the concept of sanctuary has no legal standing in the United States, some cities claim instead to be "civil liberties safe zones." These renegade sanctuaries/safe zones attack the validity of the United States government and encourage anarchy.
Sanctuary is an insidious cancer rotting the sinew, muscle, and bone of the republic, and the result increasingly promises to be a corpse-like balkanized third-world mish-mash of city-states.
U.S. immigration laws are not something being forced on cities and states but the thoughtful legislative products of their own elected representatives. Though pock-marked by the powerful immigration lobby, these laws still manage to speak loud and clear for those who do not cover their ears. For example, the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigration Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA) states the following without equivocation:
— Section 642 (a) of IIRIRA, 1996, and Section 5434 of the Welfare Reform Act 1996; extended 2003
The INS was replaced, of course, by the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement arm (ICE) in 2003, in the aftermath of 9/11.
The flawed concepts of sanctuary cities being preached and practiced by well-funded neo-progressives can be traced most directly to the religious-oriented Sanctuary Movement of the 1980s. That movement, also without legal standing, was designed to assist foreign nationals entering the United States illegally in their flight from civil wars in Central America.
As it turned out, however, many of those illegal aliens thus assisted were Mexicans and others from around the globe seeking at best a better quality of life and at worst the opportunity to do America harm. The 1980s movement, in its do-gooder zeal, did not shirk from harboring anti-American revolutionaries, criminal gang members, and "sleeper terrorists."
Present-day sanctuary cities thumb their municipal noses at U.S. immigration laws by adopting a "don't ask–don't tell" policy for foreign workers. The motivation for local sanctuary policies is the same as that for national politicians — party a leftist-liberal mindset, partly the platform of the Democratic Party, partly corporate greed and the profit to be had from low-cost labor, partly the promise of future votes (legal or illegal), and partly a pervasive anti-American mentality fostered by academia and a well-heeled open-society oligarchy augmented by news media on the take.
Illegal protective measures for illegal aliens include municipal resolutions, city executive orders, law enforcement departmental orders, city commission recommendations, a governor's order, or merely unspoken but understood orders of "no cooperation with federal authorities."
Sanctuary states include Alaska, California, Maine, and Oregon. In New Mexico, Rio Arriba County has declared itself a sanctuary; and among the sanctuary cities are Anchorage, Ala.; Los Angeles, Calif.; Chicago and Evanston, Ill.; Cambridge, Mass.; Portland, Maine; Takoma Park and Garrett Park, Md.; Detroit, Mich.; Minneapolis, Minn.; Durham, N.C.; New York City; Gaston, Ore.; Austin and Houston, Texas; Seattle, Wash.; and Madison, Wis.
These state, county, and municipal governments are defying the U.S. immigration laws passed by their own elected representatives. In addition to the 60 to 70 localities that have promulgated sanctuary policies, a larger number of local and state governments choose to simply ignore their illegal alien populations — pretending that illegal aliens are citizens.
As a result, a multitude of sanctuary policies exist either by "official" (though illegal) fiat or by sub-rosa non-enforcement of federal immigration laws. Virginia Beach, Va., and Nashville, Tenn., have been in the headlines recently bringing home the tragic cost of pandering to the illegal alien lobby.
On the evening of March 30, 2007, in Virginia Beach, an illegal alien driving drunk killed two teenagers. He had an illegal driver's license and a history of drunk driving violations, which the local police chief disregarded. Had this illegal alien been deported, the deaths would not have occurred; but the local police department policy forbids asking criminals their citizenship.
In Nashville, Tenn., an illegal alien pled guilty to drunk driving and the death of two more innocent people. This driver was arrested 14 times, four of them for drunk driving. Across the nation, U.S. citizens are dying at the hands of lawbreakers, who having crossed the border illegally, see no reason why they should obey any laws.
Meanwhile politicians hide behind arguments that enforcement of immigration laws is a federal obligation or that reporting illegal aliens to federal authorities infringes on states rights. At the same time, though, sanctuary cities demand federal money to subsidize education, environmental damage repair, more and more water treatment plants, police and fire protection, social handouts, and welfare benefits required by the growing ghost population of illegal aliens.
The cost and benefits of illegal aliens do not balance. The cost of cheap labor is anything but.
U.S. sanctuary policies are supported by persons acting individually or by those acting under color of title or law: governors, mayors, elected or appointed governing officials, law enforcement officers, judicial officers — who purposely and knowingly fail to obey U.S. immigration laws. Sanctuary policies shield illegal aliens from rightful detention and/or deportation for violations of federal immigration laws.
The Sanctuary Movement of the 1980s–1990s faded in the last year of the 20th century. After 9/11, anti-American activists, One-Worlder leftists such as George Soros, anarchists, anarchist wanabees, certain religious-oriented globalists, and self-styled humanitarians revived elements of the movement as a means of forcing multiculturalism on the American society. Officials and advocates, who fail to report illegal aliens for any reason, still are committing a crime or crimes.
Law dictionaries define historical sanctuary as "a consecrated place which had privileges annexed to it, and to which offenders were accustomed to resort for refuge, because they could not be arrested there, nor the laws be executed. In general, any holy or consecrated place." The term is also defined as "a place of refuge where the process of the law cannot be executed."
Current sanctuary advocates cite biblical passages to justify their actions in defiance of U.S. law. They quote Leviticus: "The stranger who sojourns with you shall be to you as the native among you." Moses established six cities as refuges for those who committed involuntary homicide. Such refuges were connected with temples or shrines.
The ancient Greeks and Romans also had forms of sanctuary attached to temples. Unlike the Hebrew, the Greek and Roman refugees were not limited to those who involuntarily committed crimes. The Greek and Roman sanctuaries protected criminals from the harshness of the law, affording them a form of banishment or extended imprisonment.
Officially recognized by the Theodosian Code in 392 A.D., sanctuary was limited to the altar of the church or the "frith." A chair was set aside the altar for the fugitive. The sanctuary was extended to the church property — cloister, courtyards, and clergy residences. Excluded were heretics, apostates, and public debtors. The Catholic Church continued the Greek and Roman practice of extending sanctuary to all criminals.
In the sixth century, the Justinian Code excluded murders, adulterers, and rapists. The Anglo-Saxon code of laws, complied by Ethelbert, King of Kent in 597 officially recognized sanctuary, and the first laws to regulate sanctuary were those of Ine, King of the West Saxons, in 688 to 725. In its final days in England, sanctuary was limited to 40 days and then, the fugitive had to sign an oath abjuring the realm and accepting perpetual banishment.
Thus the sanctuary of ancient and medieval times had nothing to with illegal aliens entering a country. By the Middle Ages, the concept of sanctuary was focusing on helping debtors or people accused of crimes.
The pilgrims did not recognize "sanctuary," nor was it part of the common law that they brought to the new world. Some argue that the pilgrims viewed the new world as a whole sanctuary, but such a claim is undocumented. Colonial history is silent on the question of sanctuary, and nowhere is sanctuary found in the writings of the time. If there were any question concerning the institution of sanctuary in the founding of the nation, it is not recorded.
Sanctuary has never been recognized in the United States. Those who today espouse sanctuary policies, using religious connections and protection postures, are the same people who support the oft cited separation of Church and State in the U.S. Constitution. There the Liberals go again, being inconsistent in their thinking.
During the Civil War and the days of the underground railroad for runaway slaves, the abolitionists made no move to institute sanctuary as a legal privilege.
The underground railroad was a form of civil disobedience, whose practitioners risked punishment for violating existing laws.
The Vietnam War saw a form of symbolic sanctuary in the protection of draft dodgers, but no claim was made for any legal recognition of the privilege. In fact, the very illegality of the act, an act of civil disobedience, gave the concept of sanctuary its symbolic power as a confrontation with an unpopular war.
Two cases in the 1970s illustrate the point that sanctuary was never seen in terms of a legal privilege: Bridge v. Davis and United States v. Beyer. Violators of the Selective Service laws (the Draft) and persons absent without leave from the military were taken from churches where they were staying to avoid the authorities.
The military police were sent into the churches to take the men out and return them to their bases. No sanctuary defense was raised in their cases, even though in the Bridge case, Sanctuary Movement members were plaintiffs in the lawsuit.
The Appellate Court decisions turned on the right of military base commanders to control their base and its members, and sanctuary as a legal defense was never raised.
In another case, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed U.S. immigration laws and did not consider sanctuary as a defense (USA v. Francine La May).
The seminal case involving criminal convictions of religious sanctuary advocates for violating immigration laws is U.S. v. Aquilar. In that case, the Court of Appeals upheld the convictions of these advocates for "bringing in or landing aliens," "transporting or moving undocumented aliens within the United States," and "concealing, harboring or shielding aliens."
In short, the Court denied and sanctuary defense.
U.S. history provides no legal precedent or justification for sanctuary cities or states. Why then are sanctuary advocates so strident and unrelenting with their vitriolic epithets of "racist" or "Nazi" toward anyone who holds that immigrants must play by the rules and obey the law?
The lack of civility is spreading from the new Democratic-controlled Congress, to the talk shows, to the schools, from the elementary grades to colleges. Could it be the sanctuary advocates know they are wrong, yet hide their heads in the sand to achieve political power? Their ostrich mentality could be fatal to the United States, not only by vehicular deaths and gang shootings but by breaches in national security.
The author is a former federal prosecutor and U.S. German Marshall Scholar.
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