Three Pros and Cons of Sanctuary Cities

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A lot of people aren’t aware of just how many different kinds of cities there really are. Of course, there are the different classifications of a city based on its size. This often determines if a city is known as a town, a village, or something else.

However, there are more to cities than just the number of people who are a part of the city. In fact, a large part of what makes up a city is where the people within the city come from. This is where a sanctuary city comes into play. These cities don’t have their own legal or definitive definition of them yet, but they have made a name for themselves as being a sanctuary city. There are only a select few of these cities throughout the country, with there being a total of 37 cities spread across 134 counties and 11 states in the United States.

As for what a sanctuary city really is, it can be somewhat complicated. At its core, these can be cities, towns, or counties that do not completely corporate (or at all) with any federal detention requests that are sent to undocumented immigrants.

The idea behind this is often a motto of “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” meaning that you may not know you are in a sanctuary city unless you are specifically searching for one through the Center for Immigration Studies. As one can imagine, there are both benefits and drawbacks that come with these cities. Here are some sanctuary cities pros and cons to keep in mind when looking at these cities.

1.  Undocumented Immigrants Tend to Be Happier

Chances are, when a family of undocumented immigrants can live without nearly as much fear of being deported out of the country, they are going to be happier and much more willing to get along with the law officials who won’t ask, nor will they tell about your potential immigration status. When both the immigrants and law officials get along, everyone is generally in a better mood.

After all, dealing with someone who you are not fond of (on either side of the argument) is not something that anyone enjoys doing. Additionally, when immigrants don’t have to worry as much about law enforcement knocking on their doors, there’s a good chance that they will feel free to live as they can do best, which can involve helping out with the community more. This can make everyone within the sanctuary city happier, which only spreads the positivity.

2.  They Are Legal

Another thing to consider about living in a sanctuary city as an undocumented immigrant is that you won’t be doing anything wrong by doing this. Some people might live in fear that, by choosing to live in a sanctuary city, they are already doing something illegal and making them a target of the law. This is simply not the truth.

The Tenth Amendment of the US Constitution provides a separation between federal and state powers. What this means here is that federal agencies trying to ask for documentation cannot overturn state laws about not needing to ask for this documentation. As mentioned above, when a family doesn’t have to live in stress over a potential deportation, it can generally benefit the community around them, which only helps to further the cycle of positivity.

3.  It Can Help with Crime Reporting

When a family is living undocumented, there’s a good chance that this family will not answer questions about crime or even admit if a crime happened. After all, when someone has to answer questions about a crime or provide information, some of that information might include legal documentation.

When a family decides to live in a sanctuary city, they can rest assured knowing that they can report a crime or answer questions about crime statistics and safety without needing to fear being deported. In turn, this helps to keep the city even safer, as officials will have a more accurate reading of what crimes happen the most.

The Downsides

As with anything, there are going to be downsides. This includes sanctuary cities, which tend to have a lot of downsides that come with them. Some of the downsides are focused on finances and monetary aspects of running a city.

Other downsides might focus on other people’s problems with immigration and the policies surrounding this. Because of the divide between supporting sanctuary cities and opposing them, it can be hard to determine if they are good or bad at the end of the day.

1.  It Supports Illegal Activity

In the end, immigrating to the United States without the proper documentation is a crime in itself. Sanctuary cities simply provide a safer place for these people to live, and in some perspectives, sheltering these people from the law. Nobody wants to support cities that actively shelter criminals from the punishment that they deserve.

In this case, this would be the undocumented immigrants and their punishment is generally going to end up being deportation. Another concern that people have over these cities is that, by encouraging criminal activity, it creates a more unsafe atmosphere for everyone else, and nobody enjoys living this way.

2.  It Can Lose Funding

It isn’t inexpensive to run a city. Because of this, many cities have some degree of federal funding to keep them up, running, and prosperous. When it turns out that a city is actually a sanctuary city, this can mean that the city itself loses its federal funding. This can be millions upon millions, depending on how much money was being funded in the first place.

Without that steady flow of money coming in, a city would not be able to keep up with the activities and other projects that it was working on. When a city cannot do this, it will begin to deteriorate until it has enough of an income to keep the city at a steady level. Often, when there is that much of a jump, it means that the city can potentially be doomed. Nobody wants this to happen to their city simply because of the choices of another person.

3.  It Places a Criminal’s Welfare Over Law-Abiding Citizens’

Going back to the point of the fact that sanctuary cities support illegal activity, by harboring people within the city and shielding them from the law at the same time, sanctuary cities effectively put the welfare of the criminals within the city over that of any law-abiding citizens’ who choose to live within the city for other reasons. Not a lot of people appreciate being considered below a criminal in terms of welfare and this is one of the largest arguments against sanctuary cities and one of the reasons why many people call for their abolishment.

At the end of the day, sanctuary cities provide a place for criminals to live and function as if they were any other member of society. Whether or not this is seen as a benefit to the area or it is seen as a detriment is completely up to an individual’s point of view and upbringing. What is important, however, is staying informed on what exactly a sanctuary city is, what it provides for the people within, and how that can affect your own life.


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