From its beginning, the United States has been a nation of immigrants. The first colonists came from Britain in the 17th century, and since then our country has welcomed people from countries across the globe. People have fled from disaster, escaped tyranny or migrated for the opportunity to participate in this great land called America.
Unlike many countries around the world which find their basis in the arbitrary whims of a dictator or the police state, America’s basis lies in the rule of law. Within the context of the rule of law, her citizens are given liberty, justice and equity before the law. Our civil order as a nation relies upon whether or not we uphold the law or choose to discard it.
For far too long, our country’s leadership has compromised this civil order by ignoring the immigration laws. Rather than enforcing those laws, many in our leadership have chosen to “wish it away” by doing nothing. Now, after several decades of negligence, the Pew Research Center estimates that a massive 11 million illegal immigrants currently reside in our country (Pew Research, 2015). Perhaps due to our guilt in enabling illegal immigration through negligence, the key issue has changed from the rule of law into compassion and family unity. Our culture asks these questions of us: How can we deport a family who has been here for several years? How can we punish people who are merely seeking a better life?
In this stream of thought, sanctuary cities have emerged as a “compassionate” way to protect illegal immigrants from being arrested and deported. According to the Washington Post, 500 cities have declared themselves “sanctuary cities” in which local police are not required to comply with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials. This means that if an ICE official requests that an illegal immigrant be detained because of criminal activity, local law enforcement can refuse to comply. Sanctuary cities violate federal law while stifling cooperation between local law enforcement and the federal government. Rather than being compassionate, this lack of coordination can lead, in many cases, to the inability to arrest and detain criminals.
A 2014 ICE study discovered that of the 8,145 individuals released as a result of refusing a request to detain, 1,867 were re-arrested 4,298 times while being charged with 7,291 crimes. This study reveals how these criminals, released due to local law enforcement’s refusal to comply with ICE detaining requests, continued to commit crimes and incur arrests.
Americans in Support of Law Enforcement president, Scott Erickson, wrote in a recent op-ed for the Daily Signal,
Stripping local law enforcement of the ability to merely cooperate with their federal counterparts on issues as plain as the removal of a dangerous criminal jeopardizes the safety of all law-abiding individuals.
Sanctuary cities also neglect to address the larger issue of the rule of law within a civil society. Our country makes laws to protect our sovereignty and our citizens from harm. Law must be law, not someone’s own preference. The rule of law grants justice in our society by providing a framework to acquit the innocent and punish the guilty. The rule of law allows our society to be civil and to function in a reasonable way, rather than a society of chaos in which everyone chooses which laws “work for them.”
Measure have been taken to uphold the law as shown in the recent Texas bill signed by Governor Greg Abbott banning sanctuary city policies and requiring local law enforcement to cooperate with ICE. Those who refuse to comply can face a misdemeanor charge and up to a year in jail. This bill acts as a big step in the right direction of protecting citizens and upholding the rule of law.
Even former President Bill Clinton, speaking of the illegal immigration crisis stated in his 1995 State of the Union address,
We are a nation of immigrants, but we are also a nation of laws. It is wrong and ultimately self-defeating for a nation of immigrants to permit the kind of abuse of our immigration laws we have seen in recent years, and we must do more to stop it.
The solution does not exist in creating sanctuary cities which refuse to comply with federal law. The solution exists in enforcing the existing laws, since the lack of enforcement has created this problem in the first place. An unwise society believes in eroding the rule of law because it seems easier and faster in the short run. A wise one understands that enforcing the law is the only way to uphold a civil society and moral order.
Originally published on Patriot Post, May 18, 2017
photo credit: RobWilson/BigStock
On Sunday night, French citizens selected En Marche leader Emmanuel Macron as their nation’s newest president. Macron defeated supposed “far-right” candidate Marine Le Pen 65% to 35%. While this may appear to be a united vote of confidence for Macron and his pro-EU, centrist policies, it should be noted that about 11.5% of ballots were damaged or left blank while 25% of the registered voters abstained from voting altogether. Macron’s new challenge is to bring a country of disparate opinions together, in spite of differences. This challenge seems simple enough, yet he has to contend with the deeps issues which Marine Le Pen addressed in her “French First” campaign — namely immigration, terrorism and globalism.
Le Pen’s campaign ran on the discontent of French citizens who feel forgotten and left behind in the wake of refugee and immigration policies. During a recent interview with French citizens, Angelique Chrisafis, a reporter for the Guardian, discovered a growing number of French nationals who echo this sentiment. One French local stated: “Foreigners — they arrive and are given a flat, new clothes, food and free petrol. We give them everything and the French have nothing.” They watch refugees and immigrants being given free housing, food and petrol while many rural French citizens are struggling with unemployment and poverty. “The third world isn’t the suburbs at all” a woman stated in the interview, “it’s in the countryside. Nobody cares. Nobody talks about it. Ever.” Marine Le Pen calls these people “Forgotten France.” That should ring familiar to a few supporters of Donald Trump.
The globalist EU policies have made it difficult for the French nation to make unilateral decisions in the best for their country, rather than in the best interest for the entire Euro-zone. Centralized governing powers, like the European Union, require countries to relinquish sovereignty and control of their own countries in exchange for rule by another, larger governing body. The interests of one country are then shared with all of the countries in the group. This really means that the interests of an individual country are diluted by the interests of many other countries. In other words, all countries who submit to the European Union lose much of their voice while their “representatives” make decisions for them in another capital hundreds of miles away.
The globalist organizations of Europe are not unlike the monarchies of the past in which a disconnected central figure made unilateral decisions for a people. In history, this dynamic has often led to a people throwing off the disinterested centralized government in favor of self-rule. Some notable historic examples, of course, include the French Revolution (1789-1799), the American Revolution (1776-1783) and, in last century, the Tunisian victory for independence from the French (1952-56), and India’s victory for independence from British rule (1947). Of those, the American Revolution is unique for its achievement of real and lasting Liberty.
We applaud the efforts of such countries to independently rule themselves. Yet most people today cannot recognize that the same impulse which drove India to free herself from England or Tunisia to throw off French rule is the same which drove Britain to vote for Brexit and Le Pen and her supporters to seek a Frexit. National Review’s Andrew Stuttaford notes, “The French may not love the EU, but that’s not the same as saying that they want to leave it. They don’t.”
The struggle for independence served as the drive behind Le Pen’s campaign. This struggle for independence has often been called “nationalism.” In its best form, nationalism encompasses a love for one’s own country, which propels citizens with a desire to build their own country’s economy, the ability to make local decisions based on local needs and the ability to secure their country from their enemies.
The globalist institutions that rob sovereignty from nations in exchange for centralized, monolithic decisions, simply do not comport with the intrinsic human instinct for self-rule. These institutions, in fact, compromise that democratic impulse.
While Emmanuel Macron has won the presidency in France, the cause for nationalism and independence from the EU will continue to be an issue for the people of France. The policies which exclude local voices for local needs will continue to exist, and so will the opposition.