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Are sanctuary cities and states a good thing?

Screen shot from KCRA News' YouTube video: Sanctuary state bill gets approval from CA Assembly
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This past Thursday California’s governor, Jerry Brown, singed SB-54. It’s a bill designed to make California a sanctuary state. This raises the question of whether sanctuary cites and states are a good thing for the country?

The bill is an attempt to strengthen the state’s immigrant protections. SB-54 prohibits law enforcement officials from asking about a person’s immigration status or being involved with enforcement efforts. It will also prevent law enforcement from being deputized as immigration agents or arresting people on civil immigration warrants. The argument for weather or not a city or a state should become a sanctuary is complicated.

KCRA, a local Sacramento news station, explains what SB-54 is and how it works.

People who support Sanctuary states and cities will tell you that their existence will give immigrants a place to go where they feel safe and will not have to live in fear of having a conversation with a police officer. If a person is afraid to speak to the police, they will not speak up when a crime is committed or if they know one is about to be committed. Allowing residents to feel safe in reporting crimes makes sanctuary cities and states safer. Supporters also feel that the government has been too random with their arrests and deportations causing fear to grow in the immigrant community. Finally, the supporters just feel it is the right thing to do in defiance of what they see as xenophobia on the behalf of the government.

Those who are against sanctuary cities and states see them as place that harbor criminals. They point to cases like Kathryn Steinle, who was shot and killed by an illegal immigrant in 2015 in San Fransisco (a sanctuary city), as making sanctuary cities and states dangerous. They also view the proponents of these places as arrogant and forcing their values on people. In addition, these places are seen as dividing the country into two separate camps. Finally, not all the people who live in these places support the ideas of sanctuary cities and are being denied a voice in determining if these places should protect immigrants.

Governor Jerry Brown upped the ante when he singed SB-54 into law. By turning California into the nation’s first sanctuary state he has clearly defied the United States government, but was he right to do so?

The Issue

Are sanctuary cities and states a good thing for the country or are they harmful? Do they make cities safer by giving its immigrant residents less to fear from law enforcement, or do they create havens for criminals?

In support of sanctuary states and cities

In opposition to sanctuary states and cities

Do you think establishing sanctuary cities and states is a good thing?

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