Friday, September 23, 2022

Missing The Point

      A recent (and so far unpublished) comment took me to task for not giving equal weight of disapproval to sanctuary cities versus governors who entice supposedly illegal immigrants onto planes and buses to drop them without notice in said cities.  "After all," the writer fumes, "that's how the undocumented arrive in border towns.  This is just making those other places aware of how bad it is."

      Indeed, though by now you'd think border states would have noticed that they are, in fact, on an international border that lots of people sneak across and would not be surprised when it happens.  (It can be slowed, but not stopped; see Prohibition or the War On Drugs.)  I thought there was plenty of national awareness of the problem already -- and if moving people elsewhere is a palliative, the smoothest way to do so is to make arrangements with places that are open to the notion.  In fact, some border-town Mayors have been quietly doing just that with their sanctuary-city counterparts further north, but it's not getting much media attention.  Even the linked NPR article fails to give it more than a nod, moving instead to the shiny object of Gubernatorial bus-ride surprises.  Setting one's state at odds with another state instead of leveraging the advantages of sharing a Federal government to ensure that when the relocated disembark, there's some place ready for them is what makes this an ugly, attention-getting ploy instead of a good-faith effort to alleviate the problem.  (And we do love noise; we do love a fight and so does our media.  The Mayoral-level effort based on cooperation is almost impossible to find in online news reports.  It hasn't got much in the way of outrage or dramatic images, you see.)

      I have yet to hear any politician from any party say our border policies are great as they stand and that border-agency equipment, personnel levels and funding are as high as they should be; there's broad agreement behind all the partisan sniping that tends to drown it out and if anyone in Congress on either side actually gave a damn about solutions, they'd start there.  They don't; the whole issue is merely another bloody shirt to wave for their base, just as it is for Governors with national ambitions.

      But it's immoral and wrong to pretend a promise to not arrest someone's grandmother (etc.) over illegal entry into this country* is the same thing as fooling a bunch of recently-arrived undocumented people into being transported elsewhere by claiming they will receive help there without making sure it'll actually be available.  Those things are not moral equivalents and no amount of handwaving will make them so.
* While it is often claimed -- or just taken as given -- that "sanctuary city" ordinances are mostly feel-good blather passed by liberal municipalities without significant southern-immigrant populations, even a little noodling around with search engines finds this isn't the case.  Most have significant undocumented, naturalized and first-generation native-born populations, largely from Spanish-speaking parts of the New World.  Two of those three categories of people can vote -- and they tend to show up faithfully on Election Day.  Politicians notice.  While you might dislike this with the same fervor as a liberal Democrat decrying the number of guns American citizens own, it is just as much a fact and if you want to live in reality, you have to come to terms with it.

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