Puzzled Mayors Scratch Heads, Wonder What a Sanctuary City Really Is

Published on April 6th, 2017

Nobody knows what a sanctuary city is – no one!

That’s the latest excuse sanctuary city mayors and immigration advocates offer in their disingenuous effort to ensure that tens of millions of dollars in federal funding to local jurisdictions will keep pouring in even though they steadfastly and illegally refuse to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Sanctuary mayors struggle to understand what they’re doing wrong.
Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett doesn’t understand
what a sanctuary city is.

The Oklahoma City Mayor, Republican Mick Cornett, is the latest to look foolish when he spoke about the contentious sanctuary city debate. After meeting with Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly in Washington, D.C., Cornett told NPR that his fellow mayors don’t understand what sanctuary cities are, and that he personally has “no idea” how to define the term. Cornett and his fellow mayors hope to get “some clarification” on what a sanctuary is. But Cornett doesn’t expect to get a definitive answer from Kelly because “he [Kelly] doesn’t know either.” Cornett further told NPR that he doesn’t think any of the mayors “use the term sanctuary city or even understand what it means.”

Lena Graber, a San Francisco lawyer who represents the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, agrees with Cornett. According to Graber, “There is no definition of a sanctuary city.” In January, Victorville City Councilwoman Blanca Gomez told a crowd that she has no clue how to define a sanctuary city. And last year, the New Yorker published a lengthy article that claimed confusion about sanctuary status is widespread.

Once a false narrative takes hold in the immigration struggle, it’s hard to dislodge, no much how evidence disproves it. One of the most often heard deceptions is that because of an acute labor shortage, more employment-based visas must be issued. Dozens of nonpartisan studies have debunked that argument, but getting it acknowledged in the mainstream media is a constant challenge.

For the bewildered mayors, I offer this easy-to-understand sanctuary city definition. A city is a sanctuary when its local officials – like you – refuse to obey 8 U.S. Code 1373 which requires you to cooperate with federal immigration officials. It states:

“Notwithstanding any other provision of Federal, State, or local law, a Federal, State, or local government entity or official may not prohibit, or in any way restrict, any government entity or official from sending to, or receiving from, the Immigration and Naturalization Service information regarding the citizenship or immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of any individual.”

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