The decision to become a so-called “sanctuary” city is a moral choice, a political choice, and, if President Donald Trump has his way, a financial choice.
The new President, true to his campaign promises, has come out of the White House starting gate with blasts of aggressive rhetoric aimed at building a wall to shut down unlawful immigration from or through Mexico, and using the power of Federal funding to force cities, counties and states to co-operate with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service in rounding up and deporting undocumented non-citizens.
According to ICE, NM is a sanctuary state, although Gov. Susana Martinez emphatically denies it. “I did an executive order within minutes after I was sworn into office in 2011,” she says, “I said there will not be any sanctuary city. Our police officers will ask where someone is from, especially if they are being arrested and put in jail for crimes.”
The Governor’s order may apply to NM State Police, but it has not prevented 8 NM counties and the City of Santa Fe from making their own declarations that they will make sure their law enforcement personnel do not send information about anyone’s immigration status to the Feds by ordering them never to ask about it.
President Trump has issued an Executive Order to the Department of Homeland Security asking DHS to audit all law enforcement funds being sent to these self-declared sanctuaries and once they’ve been identified, to cut them off. Already the City of San Francisco and the States of New York, Virginia and Washington have filed in court suits claiming even this threat is unconstitutional. The State of Massachusetts seems ready to do the same.
On one thing there is wide agreement, it may be years before the issue is settled in law, and years before the implications of President Trump’s rhetoric could become real. But already, one part of the President’s program has already succeeded, he has created a national debate on sanctuary cities that is red-hot.
Evidence of that could be found in the security guard that surrounded our guest today, Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales, at his most recent meet and greet with citizens.
Javier Gonzales is the Mayor of the City of Santa Fe, NM. He has become one of the leading national proponents of the sanctuary movement.