Letter: Sanctuary City

On Feb. 21, a number of Beacon residents attended a meeting of the City Council to ask that legislators designate Beacon as a sanctuary city. As in other locales across the country, Beacon would instruct the police department not to participate in immigration dragnets by the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

One resident cited analysis of FBI data by a professor at the University of California at San Diego that showed counties designated as sanctuaries have significantly lower crime rates. In such areas, vulnerable residents appear more likely to turn to police for protection, to report crimes and to serve as witnesses because their immigration status is not in play.

Residents also wanted to make clear to the council how strongly we feel that undocumented individuals and families are neighbors who should not be living in fear, dreading a knock at the door or afraid to go outside. Four religious leaders from congregations in Beacon pointed to biblical reminders that we are all sojourners, as were all those before us.

There was also a reminder that immigrants make significant contributions to the economy. Farmers around the country, including in New York, worry about who will harvest crops. Our Main Street businesses provide employment to immigrants who pay taxes and spend dollars here.

Council members listened carefully to these arguments and will, in the next few weeks, begin the process of deciding on the nature of the safety to be provided to all residents of Beacon and whether to join the growing list of cities who have declared themselves sanctuaries.

Joseph Gilmore and Rachel Thompson, Beacon

3 thoughts on “Letter: Sanctuary City

  1. No one here illegally should be allowed. That is breaking the law and if one law can be broken all should be broken, which means police should also not give speeding tickets, DWIs or arrest anyone for robbery, trespassing, illegal guns and on and on. If I ever commit a crime in a sanctuary city and get a ticket or arrested, it’s game on!

  2. There has been a misguided romanticization of the undocumented immigrant being protected by “bleeding-heart” liberals who in actuality are complicitous in this population’s economic abuse by society. What has been underreported is the exploitation of this population by unscrupulous employers, especially in the construction industry, that routinely ignore OSHA regulations and cheat the immigrants of fair wages.

    It is not uncommon to read in the papers of injuries and even death sustained by these workers. Unprotected by unions, they are vulnerable to every violation of the National Labor Relations Act and without recourse. And indeed they are also at the mercy of the criminal element in their own neighborhoods who use the weapons of fear, intimidation and blackmail. Instead of trapping these undocumented immigrants in a never-ending cycle of exploitation, town and city officials and citizens should work toward legal normalization of their status as citizens of the U.S.