There are good arguments to be made against Donald Trump’s supposed pledge to send illegal immigrants into sanctuary cities. Claiming that it makes America less safe isn’t one of those, at least not if you’re a Democrat. Yesterday, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) blasted Trump for “mak[ing] us less safe” with the threat on Face the Nation, claiming that he was inciting anger when he should be working with Democrats to solve the problem:
NEWS: @CoryBooker said @realDonaldTrump is “trying to pit Americans against each other and make us less safe” by threatening to release undocumented immigrants from the border into sanctuary cities in an exclusive interview with moderator @margbrennan https://t.co/3DqCvXjMaA pic.twitter.com/y2vRStlcPr
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) April 14, 2019
Democratic presidential candidate Senator Cory Booker, of New Jersey, accused President Trump of trying to incite anger and divide Americans with his threat to release undocumented immigrants from the border into sanctuary cities. CBS News’ “Face the Nation” moderator Margaret Brennan asked Booker whether the president’s threat was an empty one — whether he was, perhaps, creating friction in order to jumpstart a Congress that has not acted on immigration.
“You say ‘friction’ — I say he’s trying to pit Americans against each other and make us less safe,” Booker told Brennan in an interview following his kick-off presidential campaign rally on Saturday in his hometown of Newark, a sanctuary city.
How does busing illegal immigrants into cities welcoming them make America “less safe”? Sanctuary cities such as Newark choose those policies to protest federal immigration policies and claim that illegal immigration doesn’t create safety issues at all. Furthermore, those policies act as a magnet for illegal immigrants, who know that their status will not cause them to get turned over to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement even if they get picked up for other crimes. If simply transporting them to those cities suddenly makes America “less safe,” as Booker claims, then it’s not the transportation that creates the safety issue. It’s illegal immigration itself, especially in its corrosive nature on the body politic.
Booker tries aiming at that too, but still misses:
Booker also expressed doubt about the president’s motives. “If he was looking to solve a problem, he wouldn’t be doing things to divide this country against itself,” he said. “Beware of anybody that’s trying to tell you to be afraid in the strongest country in the world, as opposed to showing our strength and our courage by pulling people together to find common sense solutions to solve this problem.”
Exactly how do sanctuary city policies act in “pulling people together to find common sense solutions”? They’re acts of defiance, not efforts at compromise. The cities’ motives for these declarations are to establish absolutist refusals to cooperate with any level of immigration enforcement. Trump’s threats, as ill-advised as they may be, are simply responses in kind.
The truth about immigration policy in the US for the last 30 years is that neither party wants compromise and common-sense solutions. Both parties use absolutist strategies to divide the electorate, because doing so drives voter turnout and fundraising. The incentives are all set against the kind of compromise and comprehensive solution that’s been on the table for more than a decade, as anyone who has proposed or endorsed such a plan has found out the hard way. Try running a plan for an effective physical border barrier and enhanced visa system combined with normalization for those who have already been living here past Booker and see where you get.
If Democrats keep talking about sanctuary cities and public safety, though, they may find that they’re handing Trump an easy win on his main point. It’s a deliberate troll, and some Democrats seem anxious to walk right into Trump’s trap.
Let’s leave the last word to Sharyl Attkisson:
In fact, if they were *not* placed in the towns and states that have this opinion, wouldn’t/shouldn’t those towns and states object? They would say @realDonaldTrump is making sure they don’t enjoy all the benefits of illegal immigration.
— Sharyl Attkisson🕵️♂️ (@SharylAttkisson) April 14, 2019