- - Sunday, February 12, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Some of our big-city mayors are having a high old time on a play date, with demonstrations of piety and righteous indignation in a game of “you show me yours and I’ll show you mine.” They get to needle President Trump from a distance for his attempt to impose order on the rush of illegal immigrants into the United States.

“Sanctuary cities” are all the rage across the land, with certain mayors inviting the rush of illegals in the wake of the legal furor over the president’s order temporarily barring immigrants from seven Middle Eastern nations suspected of sending troublemakers among the innocents, until effective vetting is organized and put in place.

“I want to be clear,” says Mayor Rahm Emmanuel of Chicago, “we’re going to stay a sanctuary city. There is no stranger among us. Whether you’re from Poland or Pakistan, whether you’re from Ireland or India or Israel, or whether you’re from Mexico or Moldova, where my grandfather came from, you are welcome in Chicago as you pursue the American dream.” His Honor revealed himself proficient in alliteration if not very effective at keeping the peace in his streets. Given Chicago’s soaring murder rate, the mayor may not be offering much. Newcomers from Syria to Chicago’s South Side will feel right at home.

The list of the defiant ones is a long one. Denver, Boulder, New York City, Chicago, New York City, Washington D.C., Seattle, Baltimore, Los Angeles and California’s Bay Area have all declared they’re not going to cooperate with federal immigration authorities to enforce the law. Even officials of counties are getting into the game.

The Howard County, Maryland, Council voted last week to designate Howard as a sanctuary county, a safe harbor for illegal aliens on the run from immigration officers. The county, like the sanctuary cities, are challenging President Trump’s threat to withhold federal funds if the jurisdictions won’t co-operate with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers. The county executive, however, says he will veto the idea.

On the other hand, Miami-Dade County got the president’s message loud and clear and decided not to risk losing the federal money. Mayor Carlos Gimenez ordered county jailers to notify ICE when they’re holding prisoners sought on a federal warrant.

“I want to make sure we don’t put in jeopardy the millions [of dollars] we get from the federal government,” he said. The president noticed. “Miami-Dade mayor drops sanctuary policy,” he tweeted. “Right decision. Strong!”

Some cities are trying to straddle the laws, playing word games to avoid sounding like secessionists with contempt for the money. “We’re not a sanctuary city,” says Mayor Michael Hancock of Denver. “It’s our goal to make sure people in the city feel safe and know that this is a city that’s open, welcoming and inclusive.” Three mayors in the California Bay Area vowed to avoid grandstanding and “stay true to our values of inclusiveness, compassion and equality.”

But most of the mayors strike a defiant note, channeling Winston Churchill promising to fight on the beaches, the landing grounds, the fields and in the streets. Mayor Martin J. Walsh of Boston promised to “use City Hall itself to shelter and protect anyone who’s targeted unfairly.” Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington, D.C., said her city and its “values” did not change on Election Day and she would protect and serve illegals on the run “no matter their immigration status.” Mayor Ed Murray of Seattle said his city would not be bullied into enforcing the law.

“Welcome” and “inclusive” were the magic words for the day.


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