Sanctuary cities and nullification

Victor Davis Hanson argues that “The mayor and sheriff of sanctuary-city San Francisco are kindred spirits with Kentucky county clerks who want to opt out of licensing gay marriages.

Apparently, sanctuary cities do not understand the illiberal pedigree of federal nullification, which was at the heart of the Confederate secessionist movement of 1861. In the 1960s, segregationists declared that Supreme Court decisions and integration laws did not apply to their states. In some states, local law enforcement refused to cooperate with federal authorities to integrate schools.

What would San Franciscans do if conservative counties and towns followed their lead? Perhaps a rural Wyoming sheriff can now look the other way when he spots a cattleman shooting a federally protected grizzly bear or predatory timber wolf — or at least shield the cattleman from federal officials. Should public schools in Provo, Utah, start the day with school-wide prayers?

The mayor and sheriff of sanctuary-city San Francisco are kindred spirits with Kentucky county clerks who want to opt out of licensing gay marriages. Following the lead of elected Rowan County clerk Kim Davis, other Kentucky clerks have vowed that they will not issue gay marriage licenses, all too happy to nullify a Supreme Court decision.

Sanctuary cities remind us that the obstacle to supposed comprehensive immigration reform is not opposition from intolerant conservative bogeymen.

Many Americans support a pathway to legal residence for undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States — if the border is first closed to further illegal immigration, if legal immigration is made ethnically blind and predicated on merit such as education and skills, if undocumented immigrants pay a fine and meet residency requirements, if applicants for legal residence are neither on public assistance nor have committed crimes, and if those with criminal records and without work records are sent back to their countries of origin.

In contrast, sanctuary cities refuse even to inform federal authorities about the undocumented immigrants with felony convictions who are residing in their jails.

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