The Trump administration was dealt yet another setback this week in its quest to impose a harsh new national immigration policy. Although in the past, the administration has raged at the prospect of jurisdictions around the country refusing to become de facto arms of federal immigration authorities, they’ve been held back in their efforts to turn that rage into actual policy through what’s now another ruling against them by a federal judge.
On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Michael Baylson ruled that the administration was not permitted to withhold well over $1 million in law enforcement funding from the city of Philadelphia that they had sought to keep back thanks to the city’s so-called “sanctuary city” status.
Rather than the city actually proving to be a sanctuary for those who have committed any sort of crime, they simply refuse, led by Mayor Jim Kenney, to blindly cooperate with requests from the federal government for undocumented immigrants to be handed over.
The issue there is one that’s been seen across the United States at this point. A number of jurisdictions large and small have chosen the path that Philadelphia has taken, and through the whole ensuing controversy, the president and his allies have claimed such areas to be allowing criminals to roam freely. That’s not what’s going on, though. It’s not as though cities that have decided against cooperating with federal immigration authorities all of a sudden have also decided to stop prosecuting perpetrators of crimes. It just means that they have chosen to keep such prosecutions as clean cut and free from outside considerations as possible.
That’s a key issue that’s been at play in the Philadelphia case. Wednesday’s ruling comes after a similar one was handed down last year in which Judge Baylson lashed out at the idea that Philadelphia had turned into a “sanctuary” for criminals. (The Trump administration’s appeal of that ruling is what prompted the Wednesday one.)
‘Philadelphia is not a sanctuary for anyone involved in criminal conduct, nor is it a sanctuary as to any law enforcement investigation, prosecution, or imprisonment after having been found guilty of a crime.’
‘There is no evidence on the record whatsoever that non-citizens in Philadelphia commit any more crimes than the citizens.’
On that second point, the president has of course routinely and repetitively sought to convince all who would listen otherwise, having made it one of the first talking points of his campaign that immigrants supposedly harbor larger than normal populations of criminals.
To that end, he’s sought to see a wall go up in between the United States and Mexico, and he’s continued on with anti-immigrant rhetoric since that initial part of his campaign.
Just because he’s continued on with it, however, that doesn’t mean that it’s become any more true.
The vast majority of those who live in the United States have immigrant backgrounds. In fact, that’s quite literally the foundation for the country’s existence — an immigrant background. In other words, the president’s anti-immigrant stance, when compared to reality, makes little to no sense.
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