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Mayor Newsom is facing a lot of heat for his most unpopular decision yet—an $83,000 campaign to advertise San Francisco as a sanctuary city for “illegal” or undocumented immigrants. The purpose of the campaign is to make undocumented immigrants feel safe and secure, encourage them to report crimes, use health services, and send their children to school. It also comes as a symbolic stance against the many nationwide anti-immigrant measures and the rising popularity of immigrant scapegoating.
Some taxpayers are livid why should their tax dollars be used to promote services for “illegal immigrants” when the city is undergoing fiscal crisis? It is a good point, and yet the undocumented immigrant population of San Francisco probably pays more than $84,000 in sales and property taxes to the city.
“We don’t care what your status is. We care that you, as a human being, are a resident of our city and we want you to participant in the life of our city.” said Newsom.
A previous blogpost covers the history of sanctuary cities and why they are morally justified as an act of civil disobedience. The point I want to make in this post in favor of a well-advertised sanctuary city policy is that integration is more important than documentation, and fighting violent crime is more crucial than preventing civil misdemeanors like illegal presence.
Lets face it—undocumented immigrants are here to stay. Would you rather have them live in the shadows of society and exist as subcultures, or acknowledge their existence and encourage their integration? Many of us do not report crimes because we don’t want to draw attention to our immigration status (See a previous blogpost on a personal experience concerning this).
By adopting a ‘dont ask, dont tell’ policy, the city is encouraging undocumented immigrants to come forward and report crimes, to seek medical help and public schooling. A well-educated, healthier, and safer community is common sense policy.