The refusal of the city of Huntington Beach to accept sanctuary laws marks the end of American equality

In Opinion
An illustration of a man wearing a tank top with the American flag on it, holding a sign with the word "Sanctuary" circled and crossed out.
(Dalia Quiroz / Daily Titan)

With immigration is being one of the most divisive issues, Huntington Beach’s recent decision to sue California over the state’s sanctuary laws solidifies the fact that the United States is no longer a place for equal opportunity.

Sanctuary laws lead to less fear of the police and benefit the community overall. When immigrants trust the police, they can actively voice problems witnessed in their area and help improve public safety by reporting criminals.

Last September California made strides in helping immigrants by declaring itself a sanctuary state. The laws make it more difficult for the state’s legal enforcement to contact immigration authorities and forbid them from questioning people on the grounds of their immigration status.

But immigrants in the U.S. still constantly live in fear of deportation. This is often what holds them back from reporting crimes happening to or around them.

America has traditionally been valued as a free country where all people have a fair chance at making a life for themselves. As children, Americans are taught to take pride in the way their government accepts all people, especially ones who come from distressed countries with corrupt leaders and unsafe living conditions.

However, immigrants have been met with circumstances that prevent them from living peacefully in the United States President Donald Trump’s constant efforts to secure the construction of a wall on the Mexican border and his enforcement of the Muslim ban prove the country is far from a fair start.

During the election campaign, Trump expressed his disapproval of illegal immigration to CNN by saying, “If you look at the statistics, of people coming … I say the illegal immigrants — if you look at the statistics on rape, on crime, on everything, coming in illegally to the country, they’re mind-boggling.”

While one would think the president would fact-check such antagonizing claims before saying them to the public, this statement does not hold any truth. In fact, immigrants are less likely to be imprisoned compared to their native born counterparts, according to a 2007 study from the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Cities with a large number of immigrants actually have low crime rates, as shown by a Public Policy Institute of California 2008 study focusing on immigration crimes in California.

With these results, it doesn’t make any sense to try and get rid of the immigrants who cause less harm in the community than the people actually born there.

Those who voted to sue the state may also not realize they are going to waste their money. All of the money Huntington Beach citizens spend on taxes will be wasted on the lawsuit instead of going toward more useful projects. Instead of spending tax dollars to help the community, the city council wants to waste it on a lawsuit.

The citizens present at the Huntington Beach city council meeting brought hats and flags with Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan while chanting out “U.S.A.” repeatedly.

What’s stopping America from actually earning the value of freedom it claims to be founded on are the citizens who think deporting and depriving immigrants of a better life will lead to a better community.

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