Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is the latest in a line of politicians touted in the media for laying out the illegal-alien sanctuary welcome mat and making their jurisdiction more “immigrant-friendly.” Notwithstanding the fact that immigrants are, by definition, legally present and not in need of sanctuary policies, these pandering politicians will not help their struggling cities rebound by creating havens for illegal aliens, irrespective of what the media say.
The Washington Post published an article that notes the “welcoming” efforts of Baltimore’s mayor and other pro-illegal alien politicians “stand in stark contrast to the reception immigrants have faced in places such as Arizona and Alabama.” The reporter inferred that immigration enforcement laws drive away immigrants (no, just illegal aliens) and suggested that sanctuary policies will lead cities into a brighter future. Well, let’s look at the policies the Baltimore mayor implemented and decide for ourselves.
Mayor Rawlings-Blake is concerned about job loss and population loss in Baltimore so she decided to induce more “immigrant” families to move there. She issued an executive order that says:
- No City funds, resources, or personnel shall be used to investigate, question, apprehend, or arrest an individual solely for an actual or suspected civil violation of federal immigration law unless required by federal or state law;
- No City Department, agency, officer or employee shall condition the provision of City services or benefits on the immigration status of the individual seeking those services or benefits unless such conditions are lawfully imposed by federal or state law; and
- City of Baltimore Public Safety Agencies shall not inquire about a person’s immigration status or contact Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) for the purpose of initiating civil enforcement of immigration proceedings, unless required by federal or state law. It shall be the policy of these Agencies not to inquire about the immigration status of crime victims, witnesses, or others who call or approach the police or other City employees seeking assistance.
How exactly does this rectify job loss or help the City’s economic prospects? Does this type of sanctuary policy create jobs or empower illegal aliens to compete with citizens and legal residents for jobs? Will an influx of new non-tax paying, public-benefit users help or hurt the City’s coffers? Will attracting more illegal aliens to Baltimore encourage or discourage gang and drug cartel activity?
The Mayor’s executive order may have legal ramifications, too, because it appears to violate federal law. Section 642 of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 provides that "[s]tates and localities may not adopt policies, formally or informally, that prohibit employees from communicating with DHS regarding the immigration status of individuals.” ICE Director John Morton told a congressional committee recently that he is weighing options (i.e., litigation and fiscal sanctions) for overturning a similar policy in Cook County, Illinois. Baltimore could be Morton's next target.
In the same vein, federal law does not permit local jurisdictions, on their own, to give illegal aliens safe harbor if they witness a crime. Jurisdictions are supposed to use the federal “U” visa program, which allows illegal-alien witnesses and crime victims to remain in the U.S. to assist law officers
No, the Mayor’s order won’t improve Baltimore’s economic, fiscal, and legal standings or its crime ranking but it will increase its population. Why is that necessarily a good thing? More people increases the Gross National Product (GDP) of an area but that does not translate into better paying jobs or a higher standard of living. Too many in the media blithely talk about the importance of maintaining a population base when, in fact, only the jobs base really matters.
Mayor Rawlings-Blake needs to establish policies that bring back good manufacturing and other jobs to her jurisdiction. That will prompt citizens and immigrants (yes, the legal kind) to return to Baltimore, grow the tax base and increase the well being of all residents. Any jurisdiction that follows her lead will only repeat her mistakes.
Establishing some immigration-enforcement policies wouldn’t hurt either.
VAN ESSER is the Manager of Membership Services for NumbersUSA
Updated: Thu, Jul 26th 2012 @ 4:38pm EDT