I stopped by a small deli this morning across from the Capitol in downtown Denver. The establishment is run by refugees from Bhutan. I had to look up where Bhutan is since my geography skills are severely lacking. Anyway, in case you are interested, it’s located in Asia bordered by China on the north and India on the south. It is the smallest state in Asia. Upon entering the deli, I was surprised to see various signs that said “Refugees welcome here”. It made me think – why would they think refugees would NOT be welcome? I was with a colleague of mine (who is far left) and I asked her why she thought they had posted those signs. Her response was that the people who own the business ARE refugees. Well, I was a refugee too. My parents had a restaurant when I was growing up and I don’t remember them ever feeling the need to advertise the fact that we were refugees or that refugees were welcome in our establishment.
The bigger problem here in Denver and around the country, is that people have the impression that refugees and immigrants are not welcome. Denver Mayor Hancock has been very adamant and vocal about taking on the “sanctuary” title, although legalistically, Denver is not a sanctuary city. There is not a specific legal definition of what constitutes a “Sanctuary city”, but CNN has defined it as a jurisdiction that has policies in place designed to limit cooperation with or involvement in federal immigration enforcement actions. The goal is to protect undocumented [aka illegal] immigrants who are not otherwise engaged in criminal activity from being detained or deported.
While the left is working very hard at portraying Trump as a big old mean white guy who hates immigrants and refugees, they are missing the point and the facts about what is really happening in this country. The truth is, laws are being broken and crimes are being committed and the people supporting sanctuary status are in essence enablers of these crimes. Furthermore, they are putting their feelings and emotions above the law. They are choosing illegal aliens over citizens. A prime example is Kate Steinle, who was gunned down in San Francisco and murdered by an illegal alien who was a felon and was deported five times prior. The City refused to turn him over to Immigration Custom Enforcement (ICE) because of the city’s “sanctuary law”. The Steinle family filed a lawsuit against the City of San Francisco, the Sheriff Department, ICE, and the Bureau of Land Management, who apparently owned the gun that killed Kate Steinle. Unfortunately the case was dismissed and unfortunately, there was no justice for this senseless crime that would have never happened if the City did not defy federal immigration laws.
Closer to home, we have recently experienced a similar case with Ever Valles, a Mexican illegal who was described by ICE as a “known gang member”. He was released last December after Denver jail officials gave ICE a 26 minute notification via fax. Obviously ICE was not able to be there to receive Valles before he was released. Two short months later, Valles was formally charged with the shooting death of an innocent 32-year old man named Tim Cruz.
The term sanctuary is defined in the dictionary as a “place of refuge or safety”. What about the safety of legal citizens, like Kate Steinle or Tim Cruz, who never broke the law? Where was their refuge or safety? This is the problem with the policy and those who support it as they go all out to blindly protect and defend outsiders. Aristotle once said “the law is reason, free from passion”. I believe we need to apply this to the concept of “sanctuary cities” because then it is clear that regardless of one’s feelings and emotions, the law should still be followed. This includes and is especially directed towards the local government officials who are working for us.
The media outlets try to paint a picture of President Trump and his supporters as racist, anti-immigrant, back-country, toothless white folks (although my husband is white and was toothless for a short period of time…and what constitutes white anyway?). However, we are regular, hard working, law abiding citizens from all backgrounds and nationalities. I am proud to be part of this group and I hope to be a voice of reason. Maybe that deli owner from Bhutan will one day understand that it is a given that law abiding, legal immigrants and refugees are welcome in this country, so posting signs stating the obvious will not be necessary.
Blog by Thuy Patton