Immigration Policies Are A Convenient Political Football

Sanctuary cities are Band -Aids for an ineffective immigration policy that desperately needs comprehensive review and change.

Sep 16, 2018 1:56 pm ET

A Letter to the Editor from Winchester resident Peggy Schleicher in response to State Representative Michael Day's recent post on Patch:

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free" is the welcoming inscription on the base of the Statue of Liberty which sits in New York Harbor and welcomes so many.

Let's face it. The U.S. has always been a nation of immigrants. Our history books are filled with stories of immigrants who flocked to our borders, many seeking asylum from torture, discrimination and poverty in other countries. They came to the U.S. wanting to live in a country where democratic self-government exists and they could be safe. Democratic self-government assumes fidelity to law, even when one disagrees with it. Otherwise, self-government would dissolve into anarchy. In a democracy, everyone is free to attempt to change the law by persuasion, argument and making a case to the electorate. But what we are not free to do is thumb our nose at the law and choose to do what is politically convenient.

What is distressing today is the uncontrolled influx of "illegal immigrants" who are tarnishing the reputation of legal immigrants who deserve to be here and many of whom are assets to this country.

Too many politicians, local leaders, and talk show hosts have jumped on the "sanctuary city" bus as the cure for the immigration problems we face. (While there is no official legal definition of "sanctuary city", the term refers to towns, cities or countries that protect undocumented immigrants by refusing to cooperate completely with federal detention requests, often with a "don't ask, don't tell" policy.)

Translation … illegal immigrants are hiding in sanctuary cities where they can escape questioning or background checks. They facilitate and encourage illegal immigration. They encourage disrespect for the rule of law. When police are told by politicians to "look the other way" what message does that send? What about immigrants to the U.S. who stood in line and followed the rules and showed respect for the law? Fairness? Sanctuary cities jeopardize our citizens and impose costs on residents – citizens and legal immigrants – that they should not have to bear. Our citizens and legal immigrants deserve better than this.

Too many politicians and talk show hosts waste our time debating the sanctuary cities issue rather than focusing on the real issue of carefully examining an immigration policy that desperately needs comprehensive review and change. Sanctuary cities are Band-Aids on outdated and ineffective immigration policy that is hemorrhaging. Sanctuary cities are not the answer but neither is yelling at each other rather than coming up

with a sensible and compassionate immigration policy. Put aside the rhetoric and seek out people who can add valuable insights to the debate -- business and l
labor experts, social service agencies, immigrant groups, police, civic organizations.

Politicians need to think outside their restrictive political "boxes" and do what is in the best interest of the U.S. and its citizens instead of themselves.

Peggy Schleicher, Lochwan Street, Winchester