Bruce Burleson, March 28, 2017

Yesterday Attorney General Jeff Sessions shot the proverbial warning flare into the air, and liberal mayors are worried.  Sessions warned sanctuary city mayors that they stand to lose eligibility for DOJ grant monies unless they abandon their myopic sanctuary city policies.  The Trump administration hasn’t limited the application of this warning only to funding from his government agency.  Cities that continue to break the law by harboring illegal aliens stand to lose a much wider array of federal funding as the administration crafts its budget for the next fiscal year. 

Naturally, the liberal mayors aren’t blaming themselves for their own failed policies.  After all, liberal politicians don’t assume responsibility for their failures any more than their narcissistic voters do.  Instead, they’re all blaming the Trump administration.  New York City mayor Bill de Blasio ratcheted up the rhetoric this afternoon: “President Trump’s latest threat changes nothing. We will remain a city welcoming of immigrants who have helped make our city the safest big city in the nation.”  He went on to claim the city will be wide open to terrorists if he loses police officers amid funding cuts.  Let’s not even get started on the delusion that attracting illegals actually contributes to safety.  Making such a claim as illegals commit crimes with reckless abandon is not just idiotic—it’s irresponsible. 

But it’s not just de Blasio.  Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti called the possible withholding of funding “unconstitutional.”  Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel—whose own city saw a 72% rise in murders in 2016—vowed to fight the administration.  And in a bizarre twist, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh threatened to turn City Hall into a hotel for illegals if he loses funding.  And dozens of mayors across the country have vowed to sue the administration if funding is withheld. 

Now let’s tackle the “unconstitutional” claim first.  Since when is it unconstitutional for a president to enforce the immigration laws that are on the books?  If anything is unconstitutional, it is the failure of former President Obama to prevent the nation’s largest cities from becoming havens for illegals, some of whom have committed high-profile crimes.  We’ve all seen the stories in the news—the Kate Steinle murder in San Francisco (where they continue to double down on their sanctuary policies), the rape of the teenager in Maryland by two illegals, the murder of another Maryland teen by an illegal alien.  Members of the El Salvadoran gang MS-13 have murdered people in several places—even their own members last August in Virginia.  The list goes on and on.  What could be more unconstitutional than for the government to continue to fail to protect its citizens against people who aren’t even in the country legally? 

But the liberal mayors don’t care.  To them, illegals form part of their political base.  And political correctness has replaced common sense.  Instead of arresting and deporting criminal aliens, mayors like Garcetti, Walsh and de Blasio continuously bandy about the word “xenophobia,” a word meaning “fear of immigrants.”  So, anyone who opposes their sanctuary policies is diagnosed with the phobia of immigrants.  Apparently, we’re not supposed to be afraid of a subset of the population that is committing horrific crimes.  Don’t worry, we are told.  We’ll take care of everything.  The politicians of course are taking care of everything—for everyone except those who are actually in the country legally. 

But that’s all absurd.  The reality is that illegals are not immigrants—they are criminals as their presence in the country violates immigration laws.  But instead of addressing the criminality by rounding them up and deporting them—which of course would be extremely unpopular among their liberal base—sanctuary city mayors routinely provide taxpayer-funded housing, food and education for illegals.  According to the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), illegal immigration cost taxpayers $113 billion in 2013.   Imagine what the country could do with that sum of money!  To put that sum in perspective, $113 billion is more than 37 times the annual budget for Boston’s city government.  That ought to give the mayor there pause, but it won’t.  At this moment he’s probably setting up cots at the new Hotel Illegal in City Hall Plaza. 

So, what happens when the Trump administration actually pulls the funding for sanctuary cities?  Obviously, city budgets will experience severe shortfalls.  The liberal mayors will then have some difficult decisions to make.  Would they get rid of their sanctuary policies?  That’s what the smarter ones will do.  But the dumber ones will look to other sources for city revenue—such as increasing taxes. 

Politicians would do well to remember what happened to George H.W. Bush when he famously broke his campaign promise:  “Read my lips—no new taxes!”  The public was so pissed off that Bush lost the election to Bill Clinton, a man with a lengthy history of shady financial dealings. 

But what other options do sanctuary city mayors have?  It’s literally a damned if they do, damned if they don’t situation.  If they implement sharp tax increases, they lose votes.  If instead they engage in draconian cuts to city services, they lose votes.  If they get rid of sanctuary policies—the responsible thing to do—they enrage their politically correct base.  No matter what they do, they can’t win! 

Of course, states may also choose to bail out cities that lose funding due to the policies of their incompetent mayors.  But that would in turn place enormous pressure on state budgets, meaning the governors will have to—you guessed it!—either raise taxes or cut services.  So it’s lose-lose for governors as well. 

The only rational, winning strategy for sanctuary city mayors is to ditch sanctuary policies and allow enforcement of immigration laws.  It’s time for mayors to stop thinking only about their own political future and to start thinking in terms of what is in the best interests of their constituents.