As we enter into the fifth month of the presidency of Donald Trump, immigrant communities would have been the most hit by the new law just passed by the House.
As this edition goes to press, the news of a bill backed by Trump to crack down on undocumented immigrants passed the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday, drawing criticism from immigration activists and others who called them a threat to civil liberties.
The target is the so-called “Sanctuary City,” a status designated by local government to protect undocumented immigrants who are jailed for whatever minor offenses, even for traffic violations.
The House voted 228-195 to pass the “No Sanctuary for Criminals Act” that would withhold some federal grants to so-called “sanctuary city” jurisdictions that do not comply with certain federal immigration laws.
Also passed was “Kate Law, ” named for Kate Steinle, who was shot dead in San Francisco in 2015 by an undocumented immigrant who had been deported five times.
It must be noted that it is well-known undocumented labor is part of the daily life in the United States, and restaurant chains, construction companies, private homes, etc., utilize these men and women to perform jobs most American won’t do. And so, they are part of the growing economy in the country. And they are not criminals. However, with so many laws mining our lives, anyone may hit one of them and get arrested for a violation.
And the sad thing is that when someone runs for public office they try to blame the easiest target, so they find a perfect one in undocumented people. But it is not fair to continue inflicting pain to millions who had left their countries to serve and help the US economy with their low-cost labor that most citizens won’t do. And this anti-Sanctuary Law really unfairly hurt the most vulnerable.
The legislators and politicians know that these sanctuaries don’t protect the criminal, it just protects the person from being automatically deported without the benefit of due process – a right to see a judge, a process that is guaranteed in a democracy and in the Constitution.
Sanctuaries provide some protection for undocumented immigrants under laws that limit how much cooperation local police may have with federal immigration authorities.
The “No Sanctuary for Criminals Act” prohibits sanctuary cities from adopting policies that restrict police officers from asking individuals about their immigration status or the immigration status of others.
Imagine that a hateful neighbor wants to take revenge against his undocumented neighbor because he has a pretty wife, and calls the police on the guy, and accuses him of selling drugs, when in fact is a fabrication. So he is arrested.
Well, the sanctuary protection will not notify the immigration, rather, the suspect will be investigated and probably released after it is found that he is innocent. So the wife and his children didn’t lose their loved one. The family remained intact. But now all this could change.
And although both bills will need approval from the Senate to become law, the panic will already be spread onto the community.
Texas is going through its own persecution case of Latinos.
A federal judge will hear arguments to decide whether the harsh anti-sanctuary cities law will take effect in September.
Anger at Texas’ strict new immigration law simmered as a thousand Latino policymakers and advocates gathered in Dallas this weekend, ahead of a hearing in which civil rights groups will ask for the measure to be blocked.
A federal court in San Antonio will hear arguments on Monday, with Judge Orlando García to decide whether to grant a preliminary injunction that would stop the law, known as SB4, from taking effect on Sept. 1.
SB4 is in some aspects redolent of Arizona’s SB1070, a “show me your papers” law that was passed in 2010 but largely neutered by court challenges. Conference-goers in Dallas also recalled California’s Proposition 187, a measure passed by voters in 1994 that would have denied social, health and educational services to undocumented immigrants. It was swiftly halted in court.
The Texas law would in effect ban “sanctuary cities” – places that offer limited or no cooperation with immigration authorities – by criminalizing and fining officials who do not accede to requests to hold immigrants for federal pick-up and potential deportation.
The human face of the case is that many people enter the US without documents because sometimes they are too poor to qualify for a visa in their country, and because visas are almost impossible to obtain. The requirements are too high for this people to fulfill. They just want to work, work and work, and so they cross the border for survival.
I feel for those many – who probably have been living in the country for decades and have no criminal record – that will be victimized by this law, and who will leave their families behind for petty offenses such as traffic violations.
And also for those businesses that benefit from low-cost labor, which allow them to keep consumer prices low for the general public.
And with this I am not endorsing the presence of those who are real criminals who deserve to be taken away. But to soften those harden hearts.
Why cannot this government pass to another page by embracing everyone and start a new chapter of reconciliation? Why every administration has to go through the same process of persecuting the most vulnerable, in the name of security?
(News services contributed to this article).