How to Debate Sanctuary Cities with a Liberal: Part 2

January 15, 2018

If you missed out on the first article about the status and definition of Texas’s SB 4—the sanctuary city law—it’s not too late to get informed: see it here. Now it’s time for the exciting part: diving into the actual debate.

Let’s start by first understanding those who hold a pro-sanctuary city stance. By first hearing the other side’s best arguments—not a caricature of their arguments—you can be prepared to debate the other side. Mainstream media seldom takes the time to actually understand the arguments and intentions on each side of issues, but we here at Texas Citizens Coalition take the time to dig deep into issues. Unlike other news sources, we want to take you beyond buzz words and fake news, so let’s start digging!

A main argument of those who are pro-sanctuary cities is that sanctuary cities keep a city safer, putting more dangerous criminals behind bars.

How? According to this view, sanctuary cities can potentially allow for more positive interactions between law enforcement and minorities of both legal and illegal status. For instance, if an illegal immigrant witnesses an assault, she may not report it because she’s afraid the police will look into her immigration status. Or, a legal immigrant could be a victim of a robbery, but he might not report it if he has family members here illegally. Why not? The victim could be worried that when the police investigate the robbery, they might start snooping beyond the robbery and find out that his family members are here illegally.

Without crimes being reported, perhaps a robber or an assaulter goes free—which would hurt the whole city. In sanctuary cities, however, police do not tend to inquire into someone’s immigration status, so minorities could possibly feel more comfortable talking to police and reporting crimes.

Judge Garcia, who blocked parts of SB 4 from going into effect, summed up this side’s view in his court decision (Pg 92): “There is overwhelming evidence by local officials, including local law enforcement, that SB 4 will erode public trust and make many communities and neighborhoods less safe.”

How would you respond to that argument?

You can show Article 6 of SB 4 where it specifically addresses this concern. It declares that an officer cannot ask about nationality or immigration status of crime victims or witnesses unless it’s necessary to investigate the crime or inform them about federal visas that protect those who assist the police. Police can also inquire about immigration status if they have probable cause to believe victims or witnesses themselves have committed a separate criminal offense. Otherwise, even in a non-sanctuary city, police cannot question the immigration status of someone reporting a crime.

In your response, don’t forget to also point out section 752.057 of SB 4, which states a law enforcement agency can adopt a policy that requires the agency to do community outreach activities. The outreach is meant to educate the public that an officer cannot inquire into the immigration status of crime victims or witnesses without prior reason. That way, immigrants—both legal and illegal—will be more willing to come forward if they’re a crime victim or witness because they know their immigration status will not be investigated.

So, the bill banning sanctuary cities acknowledges the concern on the other side, and offers solutions to the concern, making sure that immigrants will not be afraid to come forward if they’ve witnessed a crime or have been a victim of a crime.

That’s it for today, but keep an eye on your inbox: next time we’ll cover how to respond to those who claim that the sanctuary city ban is a constitutional violation.

In Service,

Gary Gates
President and Founder
Texas Citizens Coalition

Gary Gates started the non-profit Texas Citizens Coalition because he has a passion for individual liberty and preserving the Constitution, and it’s a fight he’s engaged in with every facet of his life. He believes a coalition is needed because it takes all of us being actively involved to move our state and country forward. We as citizens must stay informed because We the People are in charge and must hold government accountable. Gary desires to provide Texas citizens a free resource to get useful information about state government from a conservative perspective.
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