“Welcoming City” a Bad Idea

Sign at sanctuary cities protest

Signs at sanctuary cities protest
Like many folks in our subdivision, my wife and I proudly display a “welcome” mat on our front porch. That welcome extends to family, friends, neighbors, girl scouts, and authorized contractors. The welcome does NOT extend to people who break the law. It also does not prohibit, discourage, or hinder police from carrying out their sworn duty to protect my family and our neighborhood. Late last month, Winston-Salem councilman Dan Besse proposed that the City roll out a new welcome mat. It was designed to make legal residents more politically correct, but, in truth, it would have made them much less safe in the process.

Besse, like many ultra-liberals, sees nothing wrong with the concept of a Sanctuary City, a designation that protects illegal immigrants from being turned over to ICE for deportation. But Mr. Besse is also a political realist who knows that this region would never endorse a systematic obstruction of law enforcement. And so he offered up “Welcoming City” as a watered-down, less controversial version of Sanctuary City. His resolution stated that Winston-Salem would welcome “immigrants and refugees”. The proposal sailed through the City’s General Government Committee by a 3-to-1 margin (Robert Clark was the sole “No” vote). But it has since met with criticism and resistance from citizens, legislators, and public officials. According to the Winston-Salem Journal, Police Chief Barry Rountree said that his department will “cooperate with federal immigration officials when required.” And the Twin City’s delegation to Raleigh has made it clear that Besse’s proposal is in violation of state law. Said Senator Joyce Krawiec, “My colleagues are going to see this as a Sanctuary bill.” I asked Mayor Allen Joines if Besse’s resolution might be acceptable with a few word changes, such as requiring immigrants to be legal, and refugees to be properly vetted. “I don’t believe any type of re-wording will help address concerns brought up by the legislators. Therefore, it is my hope that we cannot pass this resolution,” said Joines.

Regardless of what becomes of Besse’s “Welcoming City” proposal, the fact remains that a growing number of cities and states are openly defying Attorney General Jeff Session’s demand for cooperation between local and federal authorities. A Massachusetts lawmaker recently admitted to tipping-off illegal immigrants to impending ICE raids. Meanwhile, Maryland is seeking to become a Sanctuary State. And just last week, Washington Governor Jay Inslee issued an order forbidding state police from turning illegals over to ICE. But nowhere has the Sanctuary City debate been more heated than in Montgomery County, Maryland, where, last month, a 14-year-old girl was allegedly raped in the school bathroom by two illegal male immigrants.

One of the suspects is an adult who came here illegally from Guatemala. He had been stopped at the Mexican border three months ago, then released to appear before an immigration judge. But the wheels of justice turn slowly. Unfortunately, bathroom rapes happen swiftly. Since the Montgomery County incident, information has been released which suggests that the adult male student and the girl had a prior relationship. But emails between the two men prove that they conspired with pre-meditation, to assault the girl in tandem.

Parents whose children attend Montgomery County schools are outraged that illegal adult immigrants are allowed to attend classes with under-aged female students. But supporters of Sanctuary Cities, say that men like the alleged rapists, are merely victims of a broken system. Speaking with FOX news, New York Times columnist Mark Steyn said, “This rape is a failure of public policy.” I agree with Mr. Steyn, but for different reasons. He believes that our government has failed to protect illegal immigrants. I believe that our government has failed to protect legal citizens, like the 14-year-old girl in Montgomery County.

We cannot be certain that Councilman Besse’s “Welcoming City” designation would result in rapes, robberies and murders by illegal immigrants, but it stands to reason that if we don’t cooperate with federal immigration officials, the chances of such crimes occurring would increase dramatically. That’s why I agree with Mayor Joines, who expressed hope that Besse’s resolution would never become law. I’m all for putting out the welcome mat, so long as I don’t become a victim of my own hospitality.

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