Sanctuary City Policy Kept Philadelphia Rapists on the Street

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At a recent session of Congress, Senator Toomey recounted a few tragic incidents involving known illegal aliens harming American citizens in sanctuary cities such as Philadelphia. Sen. Toomey described the case of illegal alien Enrique Perez Pilarte, who was arrested for child rape. But Philadelphia police released him when he posted bail despite a request from the federal government to hold him because of his immigration status. The same happened in the case of Ramon Aguirre-Ochoa, who had already been deported but illegally re-entered the United States. He was also arrested but released despite requests from the federal government. After his release, he raped a child.

Those who claim a moral high ground for “standing with 11 million undocumented” are not only assisting in the spread of crime and penalizing those immigrants who follow proper protocol, but, most fundamentally, fail to understand that we are a “ government of laws, and not of men.”

In ordaining the Constitution, the Founders established a federal government with few purposes. But one of these fundamental purposes of government was the provision of common defense. A pressing modern threat to this promise of common defense is the policy of sanctuary cities and their accompanying dangers. A sanctuary city refers to a municipality that protects illegal aliens from deportation or prosecution by withholding information about undocumented individuals and refusing to comply with federal immigration law. Notable sanctuary cities include Berkeley, Chicago, New York City, and Philadelphia. In the 115th Congress, Junior Senator from Pennsylvania, Pat Toomey, introduced the Stop Dangerous Sanctuary Cities Act, which aimed to end grants from certain Economic Development Assistance Programs and the Community Development Block Grant Program to sanctuary cities. This bill would have effectively ended federal funding to sanctuary cities and forced them to follow federal law. This bill, however, has not become law. But this has not stopped Sen. Toomey from continuing his efforts for sensible immigration policy.

At a recent session of Congress, Sen. Toomey recounted a few tragic incidents involving known illegal aliens harming American citizens in sanctuary cities such as Philadelphia. Sen. Toomey described the case of illegal alien Enrique Perez Pilarte, who was arrested for child rape. But Philadelphia police released him when he posted bail despite a request from the federal government to hold him because of his immigration status. The same happened in the case of Ramon Aguirre-Ochoa, who had already been deported but illegally re-entered the United States. He was also arrested but released despite requests from the federal government. After his release, he raped a child.

https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4607982/sen-pat-toomey-sanctuary-cities-bill

Such stories are truly frustrating and show that many on the Left are more concerned about moral posturing than actually helping law-abiding American citizens. More concerning is that the incidents that Sen. Toomey addressed are by no standards unusual. In some states, illegal aliens perpetrate over 30% of murders, according to 2015 state and federal government statistics. This has been paired with recent crime increases in sanctuary cities across America. This wrongdoing originates from a group that comprises less than 5% of our population.

How can politicians, who claim to be fighting drug trafficking by restricting the flow of drugs through our Southern border, at the same time, refuse to assist in the deportation of those who sell drugs from within the United States’ borders. The 2016 National Drug Threat Assessment by the DEA shows that there are over 15,000 homicides and 30,000 firearm related injuries or deaths in the United States that are drug-related. The same report also indicated that drug cartels, which span across the United States, Mexico, Colombia, Dominican Republic, rely upon the lackluster enforcement of immigration laws to sell illegal substances to American consumers.

In the time since the 2016 election, many Democrats appear to have a newfound infatuation with the Constitution as they take issue with constitutionality of some policy proposals by President Donald Trump. A common argument is that the Tenth Amendment would make it unconstitutional for President Trump or Congress to “force local officials to enforce federal law.” The primary fallacy of this argument is that there is no coercion to enforce federal law—but instead incentive to comply with federal law. Nobody has asked any municipality to dole out punishment to illegal aliens for their immigration status. Rather, the request by those such as Sen. Toomey is to simply turn over necessary records as well as detained suspects to the federal government if asked. This is entirely within the bounds of the Constitution since the Supremacy Clause states that federal law is the law of the entire land and therefore trumps state or local laws. More often than not, localities are best suited to determine their own laws, but immigration is a federal issue and must hence be treated as such.

Sanctuary cities violate 8 U.S. Code § 1373, which clearly states that any local governing body must not prohibit or restrict Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) from obtaining pertinent information. In addition, sanctuary cities also blatantly disregard 8 U.S. Code § 1324, which states that it is a crime to intentionally shield and/or harbor illegal aliens. Should Sen. Toomey’s bill pass, it would simply be exercising the Necessary and Proper Clause of the Constitution; it is imperative for the federal government to enforce federal immigration laws and defend the citizen and legal residents of the United States. Those who claim a moral high ground for “standing with the 11 million undocumented” are not only assisting in the spread of crime and penalizing those immigrants who follow proper protocol, but, most fundamentally, fail to understand that we are a government of laws, and not of men.

Nikhil Sridhar is an undergraduate at Duke University. 

Nikhil Sridhar seeks out writers who bring important new perspectives to Merion West. He studies biology and political science at Duke University and is interested in American politics.

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