February 2, 2017

WELCOME TO THE ZOO | Sanctuary Cities

Print More

With an open mind and two sides of the story, you’re bound to learn something new.

Welcome to the zoo! This is a blog where both the Republican and Democratic viewpoints are represented. The blog is not meant to sway you either way necessarily, just to present both sides of the story. You may not agree with the whole article, but hey, you’re likely to agree with half! The topic this week: sanctuary cities.


Stance 1

Breaking federal law must be the new hipster thing to do. All the hip places are doing it: becoming sanctuary cities. And like, if you’re not a sanctuary campus, are you even a liberal university? More seriously, sanctuary cities should not be receiving praise. These cities are insulting their country and the immigrants that followed the legal process to obtain citizenship.

Sanctuary cities and campuses propagate disrespect for the rule of law. When politicians running the city undermine law enforcement by instructing police officers to turn a blind eye towards illegal immigration, they are choosing to send a message that disobeying the law is acceptable. Laws can be challenged by making a case to the electorate, but simply choosing not to follow law is anarchy. And compelling the police officers to follow in this anarchy is a dangerous game. If elected officials can choose to ignore federal laws they dislike, where does their game stop? Could other laws, such as those pertaining to drugs, prostitution, etc. also be disregarded?

Not only do sanctuary cities show blatant contempt for the law, but they also encourage illegal immigration. This is disrespectful to legal immigrants who followed the rules and worked extremely hard for their citizenship in this country. The result is cities burdening their residents – citizens and legal immigrants – and wasting their tax dollars on the added cost of hospital, prison, and education for illegal immigrants residing in the area.

Nonetheless, people are adamant about the idea of sanctuary cities and helping people out, but without considering the consequences. Crime has surged in sanctuary cities. In recent statistics from Los Angeles, violent crime has increased by 19.9 percent. Still, many illegal immigrants do not commit crimes and most illegal immigrants detained by officials are not career felons. Therefore, for elected officials, the odds that these criminals will go on to commit further crimes and create a short-lived public outcry is less problematic than the political implications of deporting illegal immigrants. In these politicians’ eyes, it is worth the tradeoff to have a slightly higher crime rate in return for looking nice and progressive.

Sorry for some of the sarcasm, but I like to follow laws,



Stance 2

A salient debate in the political sphere surrounds the issue of sanctuary cities and the involvement of local law authorities in enforcing immigration law. A sanctuary city is one which provides a safe harbor for undocumented immigrants. According to The Economist, sanctuary cities “protect undocumented immigrants from deportation by limiting cooperation with federal immigration authorities.” These cities require a warrant from a federal judge to hold immigrants in local jails for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency. The Trump Administration wants to eradicate sanctuary cities by cutting the federal funding of those cities. It claims that undocumented immigrants commit the most crimes in the United States. However, according to the Pew Research Center, immigrants are significantly less likely to commit a crime than native-born Americans.

Many undocumented immigrants are seeking, or in the process of applying for, asylum. If these individuals are deported and forced to return home, they could face persecution from their native governments. Most immigrants are trying to improve their lives by escaping to America, and fearing local authorities could be a detriment to these individuals, as well as American communities. Sanctuary cities encourage immigrants to be productive in society by reporting crimes to local authorities, since there is no fear of repercussions. Immigrants are invaluable to our communities; they provide the services that enable the United States to be as productive as it is. Furthermore, it is beneficial for all communities to learn about diversity and equality. By welcoming immigrants from around the world into American society, our communities can become more cultured and accepting from a young age.

At Cornell, it is imperative that we protect all our students. In an email sent to students in November, Interim President Hunter Rawlings informed students that, “Cornell stands and will continue to stand with every Cornellian. We are determined to ensure that all can participate fully and freely in the life of the institution, that we embrace the diversity represented by those who join our campuses, and that we support and defend the most vulnerable among us.” Students who were studying at U.S. institutions under President Obama and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy should not fear remaining at Cornell. Luckily, Cornell does not track immigration status and is not required to openly provide information to federal agents without a warrant.

A statement released by President Rawlings on January 29, 2017 establishes the University’s stance on protecting its students from the Trump Administration’s appalling immigration executive order. If any students have questions or require assistance, please check the bottom of the statement, which provides an extensive list of resources.  

Ezra Cornell founded our institution on the basis that it would provide an education for any person in any study. We must uphold this standard and ensure that our campus remains a haven for any student.

Liberally yours,



Rebecca Saber is a junior government major in the College of Arts and Sciences. She aspires to be Secretary of State, but is willing to settle for Supreme Court Justice. When she is not writing about politics, Rebecca can be found watching TV in her bed or at some musical theater rehearsal. Welcome to the Zoo appears on alternate Wednesdays this semester. If you want to chat, Rebecca can be reached at [email protected].

Katie Barlow is a junior biology major in the College of Arts and Sciences. When not debating politics, she can be found running half marathons, eating mashed potatoes, and teaching tree climbing for COE. Welcome to the Zoo appears on alternate Wednesdays this semester. If you’re up for a chat, Katie can be reached at [email protected].