Below the Statue of Liberty are engraved the following words:
“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
I am a legal immigrant who became a U.S. citizen in 2014 and have lived in Santa Clarita for almost four years now. I’m proud that I have the right to vote, to speak up and participate in our democracy. As such, I recommend that these powerful words should be read as the invocation for the May 8 Santa Clarita City Council meeting when Sanctuary Cities will be on the agenda for discussion.
This meeting will be a defining moment for our Santa Clarita City Council members and their leadership of our wonderful city. They will have a simple choice to either be brave and stand-up for the rights and protections of law abiding illegal immigrants by supporting S.B. 54 or give in to misinformed fears and anger about rampaging violent criminals that threaten our American values and way of life.
Sanctuary cities allow us to build trust, to build open, safe and welcoming communities where all people are given due process and support in striving for the American dream of a better life – they are not sanctuaries for criminals but are in fact communities where illegal immigrants can report crimes without fear of deportation and hence are safer communities because the police are able to do their jobs more effectively.
Our law enforcement leaders support S.B. 54 and so should the Santa Clarita City Council.
L.A. County Sheriff Jim McDonnell: “We can move beyond the bill’s early false premise that local law enforcement was going to act as immigration agents. Public safety is our mission (and that) requires that people come forward if they are a crime victim or be willing to come forth as a witness to a crime without fear of being deported.”
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck: “We have reduced crime by building strong partnerships with our communities, regardless of civil immigration status, so that we can apprehend the criminals who prey on all communities in Los Angeles. We are committed to reducing crime through community partnerships and constitutional policing and S.B. 54 enables us to continue abiding by these effective principles.”
I urge the City Council to focus on it’s mission and continue to deliver the best and most cost-efficient municipal service to the citizens of Santa Clarita that help make our city a great and safe place to live and a wonderful place to visit.
Surely, we all want the same thing – a sensible legal path to US citizenship for law abiding illegal immigrants (not violent criminals). Until Washington gets its act together (and this will take time and bipartisan effort), we need sanctuary cities to protect these families and individuals who share our aspirations and dreams.
I trust that the City Council will do the right thing May 8 and continue to support S.B. 54.
Alan Blake is a Valencia resident.