If San Francisco wants to be a sanctuary city, America should let them have it and wave goodbye as the last federal employee turns out the lights.
[mc_name name=’Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’P000603′ ] wants to pass a law cutting off all funding for so-called “sanctuary cities,” and that’s an idea firmly grounded in moral, practical, and legal paradigms.
San Francisco is named for St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of the environment, originator of the Christmas Nativity scene, and first recorded recipient of the Stigmata—the wounds of Christ. St. Francis, after whom the current pope chose his name, was also a noted pacifist, who unsuccessfully attempted to convert al-Kamil, Sultan of Egypt to bring an end to the bloody fifth Crusade.
As places and people tend to take on the characteristics of their namesakes, it’s not surprising that San Francisco chose to become a “sanctuary city” to illegal aliens, while renouncing violence and promoting tolerance and harmony. These are themes of which St. Francis would surely approve (although there are plenty of things in the city by the bay that would undoubtedly shock the medieval Catholic friar).
The Bible speaks of “cities of refuge” in Numbers chapter 35, “These six cities shall be for refuge for the children of Israel, for the stranger, and for the sojourner among them, that anyone who kills a person accidentally may flee there.”
And so it is that Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez admitted to killing 32-year-old Kathryn Steinle using a gun he found “wrapped in a T-shirt on the ground next to his leg while sitting on a bench.”
The .40 caliber gun Sanchez found turned out to belong to a federal agent, although it was not a government-issue weapon. It was stolen from a Bureau of Land Management agent’s car in June, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Wednesday.
Morally, a city of refuge should be outside the long arm of the law, as the Bible notes. If the Levites were able to haul a murderer (even accidental) out of the sanctuary city, what purpose would it serve? The city has to have a moral purpose, to defend those who have transgressed against the law from the law’s punishment.
Illegal aliens are transgressors, and San Francisco, as a sanctuary city, offers a moral right of refuge for these people. Biblically, this moral right is recognized, encouraged, and established by Mosaic Law, which is to say that it’s God’s will.
Practically speaking, letting San Francisco deal with its own problems is a good way to enforce the law everywhere else. If an illegal can make it to San Francisco, he can stay there as long as he (or she) pleases, without any fear of deportation or even incarceration. If someone happens to be accidentally killed, the sanctuary city offers its own justice.
Legally, since President Obama claims the right to selectively enforce, or not enforce, any federal law of his choosing, using the doctrine of “prosecutorial discretion” to determine who is and isn’t punished, the feds have a perfect right to leave San Francisco alone. Of course, that stance violates Obama’s oath of office, but he hasn’t kept it since the day he took it in 2009 anyway.
So why not officially recognize sanctuary cities in federal law? It is within Congress’ power to do so, and cutting off federal funding is not really a punishment for a city like San Francisco, which like Lisbon in WWII, can sell its wares on the open market, declaring itself an open city, and neutral to all parties. If the Chinese want to fund public schools in San Francisco, let them. If Japan wishes to invest in startups on the bay, no problem.
Cutting off federal funding would really liberate San Francisco to be all it can be as a sanctuary city. Congress could even go so far as to let the city dictate its own import-export policies, immigration, even environmental policies. San Francisco can truly be the first non-European world city (like Paris—no New York isn’t a world city, it’s distinctly American, fuggetaboutit).
Let San Francisco even fly its own standard above the American flag, or eliminate the star-spangled banner completely if they want. If they want to hate America, let them be outside it.
I believe Sen. Paul is on the right track here, and I fully support his idea, if not the impetus behind it. Paul wants to “end sanctuary cities and secure the border.” I say let them have their sanctuary cities, and secure the border everywhere else.
Oh, and of course, anyone entering or leaving San Francisco would have to pass through American customs. So if you think the traffic is bad now on the Golden Gate bridge, the Bay Bridge, and the 101, wait until there’s U.S. Customs plazas installed at every border crossing.
San Franciscans already put up with anti-gun, anti-car, and anti-tall building laws, so it’s only a minor inconvenience to clear customs on the way to work from Emeryville or Sausalito or Half Moon Bay.
But hey, that’s the price of being a tolerant, open city, right?
(image source: Shutterstock)
(crossposted from sgberman.com)