California’s Illegal Immigrant Issue

Every week, a new city comes out against the California sanctuary state law, which bans city law enforcement from complying with federal immigration laws. Cities ranging from Huntington Beach to San Diego have voted to work with U.S. Immigration Customs Enforcement, or ICE.

The California sanctuary state law is an example of the state government overreaching its powers, again. But instead of placing another tax on its citizens like usual, this time is the law is telling cities that it is not their decision as to whether or not illegal immigrants pose a threat to their city.

Here is where the overreach comes in. California prisons are not allowed to have offices for ICE agents. Similarly, law enforcement cannot work with ICE if a person is being held for a misdemeanor that used to be considered a felony before proposition 47. This gives potentially dangerous illegal immigrants protection from being deported, and it allows them to continue to pose a threat to their community.

However, ICE being so strict at times is also federal overreach. It is a city’s prerogative to protect their citizens, regardless of their status. In many rural areas among other places, illegal immigrants are a major asset to the economy. ICE coming in, asking for their immigration status, and detaining them because of it would do more harm than good if the person is employed, a taxpayer, and has no criminal record.

The choice whether or not to cooperate with ICE needs to be left up to cities, as they know their people best. In places such as San Francisco, it is common for illegal immigrants to be part of gangs and unorganized crime. But in cities reliant on illegal immigrant employment because of industries like farming and construction,  ICE has no need to be detaining people who are helping our nation and are also taxpayers.

It is a mayor’s job to protect and serve their community. Just like citizens, every illegal immigrant is different, and not all deserve deportation. For all the ones that commit felonies or misdemeanors, there are far more who have lived a productive life in America where they work, have a family, and pay taxes. But America’s lengthy process to become a citizen has forced many of these people to stay undocumented, and should never be penalized for that reason alone.

Sources:

Image: “Learn about U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.” Study in the States, 6 Sept. 2016, studyinthestates.dhs.gov/2015/03/learn-about-us-immigration-and-customs-enforcement.

Other: Kopetman, Roxana. “California’s Sanctuary Law, SB54: Here’s What It Is – and Isn’t.” Orange County Register, Orange County Register, 5 May 2018, www.ocregister.com/2018/05/04/californias-sanctuary-law-sb-54-heres-what-it-is-and-isnt/.

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