Trump has recently threatened to release illegals into sanctuary cities, cities that refuse to enforce immigration laws or help the federal government enforce immigration laws.
Patterico is in high dudgeon over this speech. He writes:
Donald Trump has finally revealed that he does not actually care about the dangers posed to Americans by illegal immigrants. He has revealed that his talk about sanctuary cities — one of the few points on which I agreed with him — was insincere.
The reasoning behind this claim will appear shortly, but let me point out to begin with that Patterico has always been certain that Trump is insincere about practically everything, so his accusation in this particular case is not startling.
The reflex reaction on the right to this is: ha ha! You stupid people in sanctuary cities! We’re gonna stick you with these problem illegals! Let’s see how you like it!
The implication here is that there is nothing to the reaction of Trump’s fans but unintelligent ranting and ball spiking. Patterico’s perception is very much at odds with mine. My perception is that Trump fans (1) view this a a clever bit of political trolling by Trump, (2) generally think it’s unlikely to happen both because it is impractical and because it will be stopped by Obama judges, and (3) see the value of Trump’s statement in the fact that it causes Leftists to reveal their hypocrisy, not in damage that it will do to their cities. But I don’t know what Trump fans Patterico is reading, so maybe he is right about the fans that he is acquainted with. Maybe he needs to find a more thoughtful set of Trump fans to read.
And nobody stops to think.
But here’s the thing.
Do that. Stop, for just one moment, to think. Take one moment to step back and ask yourself: what is the problem with sanctuary cities? I’m serious. Pause, stop reading this, and answer that question. Say the answer to yourself. Whatever you think the answer to that question is, say it out loud. I’ll help in a moment by stating what I think the problem is.
Again, if Patterico’s stable of Trump fans don’t think, maybe he needs to broaden his reading. I have to admit, though that I don’t believe Patterico really has any difficulty finding thoughtful Trump fans; I strongly suspect that he is just having trouble believing that other intelligent and knowledgeable people might come to different conclusions from him. This is a common theme in his attacks on Trump.
The problem with sanctuary cities is that criminal illegal aliens in sanctuary cities are more likely to successfully evade the reach of the federal immigration authorities, because the local police refuse to cooperate with ICE. That puts society at risk. The more illegals are sent to sanctuary cities, the more danger is created.
Patterico is a prosecutor who specializes in gang crimes, so I’m not surprised that he thinks this is the problem with sanctuary cities. It’s the sort of thing that would really bother a man who is intimately familiar with the cost of crime and the already-significant problems of controlling it. But that’s not the problem with sanctuary cities–not the most significant problem, anyway.
The real problem with sanctuary cities is that they are defying the rule of law itself. Yes, their actions lead to individual tragedies, and I don’t mean to diminish those tragedies, but they are, in the end, individual tragedies. By contrast, the diminishing of the rule of law is a national tragedy, and the cost in individual tragedies will end up being far greater if we cannot put an end to it. The alternative to rule of law is rule of the strongest and most aggressive, and history tells us of the grotesque consequences of such rule.
Furthermore, it is not at all obvious that there are more individual tragedies because criminal aliens are allowed to roam San Francisco than there would be if they were sent home to victimize people who are generally poorer (so that there are fewer resources to deal with tragedy) and generally have less trustworthy law enforcement. One could argue that it is our responsibility to protect our citizens, not the citizens of other countries, but if Patterico makes that argument, it will come back to bite him in a few paragraphs.
If Trump actually carries through with this policy, he will be endangering people, to make a cheap political point. Like a chump sucker, I thought that Donald J. Trump actually cared about this issue — as much of a cretin as he is otherwise. But he doesn’t, really. Donald Trump is willing and indeed very happy to put American citizens at greater risk — as long as they live (or vacation) in cities whose policies he doesn’t like.
So this is the result of Patterico thinking deeper than a Trump supporter. “he will be endangering people“. But let me suggest that Patterico thought just deep enough to criticize Trump and no deeper, but he’s a very smart man and if he had thought a bit deeper he surely would have noticed the following:
- Trump has only threatened to send more illegals to sanctuary cities, and threatening to do so hasn’t actually harmed anyone other than the Leftists who have been forced to expose that they really do think that illegals are bad for a population. And as I’m sure Patterico would agree wholeheartedly: just because Trump said he was going to do something doesn’t mean he really intends to do it.
- Patterico says “Donald Trump is willing and indeed very happy to put American citizens at greater risk”. This is only true if Trump really intends to do it (unknown at this point) and Trump knows and agrees with Patterico’s argument that this will put people in danger.
- Even if Trump does agree with his argument, Trump has a solid defense: The illegals will endanger people no matter where they go. The sanctuary cities are largely responsible for the problem existing at all, so why should their policies be allowed to harm other cities? Why shouldn’t the sanctuary cities be required to assume all the risks of the immigration crisis that they have deliberately and maliciously created?
One possible counter-argument to point 3 is that the people actually assuming the risk are the regular citizens of the sanctuary cities, not the politicians who created the problem; however, it is the politicians who are directly responsible for those people, not the President. In many cases, the President can’t (by design) stop the rulers of San Francisco from endangering the people of San Francisco, but he should do everything he can to prevent the rulers of San Francisco from endangering the people of Phoenix.
If you are going to deny that the President has such a differential responsibility, if you are going to claim that it is wrong to make moral calculations like this based on who is responsible for whom, then how do you justify deporting dangerous aliens to places where they are likely to do even more harm?