Earlier last week, our fellow Southern California residents in the luxurious beach community of Malibu declared their town a “Sanctuary City” for illegal immigrants, a move that comes as our own California state assembly seeks to grant that status to the entire state.
This move, perhaps done out of sympathy, perhaps done out of ire for the President, is fundamentally incoherent with the notions of the federally directed Nation-State.
In 1862, President Lincoln signed an executive order which outlawed slavery in the parts of the country which were in rebellion against the Union. Through three more years of bloody combat and nearly 750,000 Americans killed, the final outcome would be what the President had assured the American people.
This country would be a nation of free men, enfranchised to carry out their destinies within the borders of the Union so many had fought so hard to preserve.
Our Civil War set a precedent that we have continued to follow to this day. The federal laws of this country apply to all of its citizens and all of its states, regardless of your differences of opinion. Disagreeing with a law does not give you the permission to break the law.
While this may seem to be basic common sense to the vast majority of readers, an overwhelming number of our elected officials do not seem to comprehend this notion. State Senator Kevin de Leon (D- Los Angeles) has proposed a bill which would turn the entire state of California into a sanctuary state, rebuking longstanding federal laws prohibiting the residence of illegal immigrants in the United States.
Many leaders of metropolitan areas, too, have come out in vocal support of these kinds of sanctuary policies, offering up suggestions to remain a sanctuary city even in the face of federal laws barring such an act.
Clearly, these are individuals who do not understand the intrinsic nature of the Nation-State.
Our government is a representative republic, where we use the democratic method to elect certain individuals we believe will best represent our local wants and needs, and translate that into policy. If we do not like the actions of those representatives, then we vote them out of office.
We do not simply disregard the law.
These first acts of disregard for the law are what makes great nations like ours weak. For a country as large and diverse as ours, we rely on a strong sense of duty to the laws and principles that guide our country in order to make it a better nation for all of our people.
In this instance, the United States laws prohibiting illegal immigration are the ones that these individuals seek to ignore. However the issue here does not lie with illegal immigration, rather it lies with the notions of laws as a whole.
If certain parts of the country are allowed to break some laws and get away with it now, what kind of precedent does this set for the future? Are individuals now allowed to break laws they do not care to follow? Am I allowed to drive 100 miles an hour down the Old Road just because I do not like the speed limit?
Fortunately, I do not believe that sanctuary city status will come to Santa Clarita in the near future, and I believe there are enough Senators and Assemblymen and women to make sure that things like Senator de Leon’s proposed bill get swept into the bucket of bad ideas.
This being said, we are living in California just as much as anyone from Malibu or Los Angeles, and whatever laws they enact will, by proximity, have a spillover effect onto us.
As citizens of this country, we have a duty to uphold the laws of the land, and call for those who do not to change their course or remove themselves from a seat of power.
As citizens, we enter a social contract to maintain this nation for our posterity. That fight starts now.
Erick Werner is a West Ranch alumni, a university student, and a Santa Clarita resident.