tv Inside Story Al Jazeera October 27, 2015 6:30pm-7:01pm EDT
they are among the member states to deploy. >> sharing the responsibility of dealing quickly with african conflicts. al jazeera, northern cape. >> plenty more for you on our website. the address is www.aljazeera.com. aljazeera.com. ♪ part of the less-told story of immigration enforcement as been the constant tension over what are calling sanctuary cities. places where authorities don't use local law enforcement to enforce federal immigration laws. the idea that city hall wouldn't participate was at the heart of the fight in arizona and the
fallout from a terrible murder in san francisco, a woman killed by an undocumented immigrant who has been deported several times. sanctuary cities, no place to hide? it's the inside story. welcome to "inside story," i'm ray suarez. for years local authorities have fried to reassure undocuments immigrants. whether the engoal is in ensuring cooperation with police, making sure kids get vaccinated or keeping kids you know are in the country illegally, make sure they stay in school, local authorities found it easier to turn their
cities in so-called sanctuary cities. >> reporter: this food cart bustles at lunchtime. >> translator: we are very proud that immigrants are productive. that we are not a problem to the country. we are a solution. >> reporter: they are both undocumented but feel confident enough to call the police if they are in trouble. that's because philadelphia is one of 300 so-called sanctuary cities in the u.s. us. jurisdictions with local police have stopped enforcing federal immigration laws. >> if you have someone who is a criminal or you expect to be a criminal, or is on the run or they are wanted, go to a federal judge, get a warrant, and we'll be happy to told them for you. but we're not holding people at
a whim. >> reporter: he argues it's impossible to run a city if migrants don't feel safe enough to make a living or feel too frightened to report a crime. >> if you choose us as a place to live, we have a responsibility to protect you. >> reporter: federal courts have agreed. for kenny's opponent that makes little sense. the constitution? >> what about it? >> habous corpus. >> yes, but they are here illegally, so we need to make sure that we are protecting first and foremost the people of philadelphia from people who are committing crimes over and over again. >> reporter: in fact, first-generation immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than anyone else in the population. and it's local police forces
themselves who argue being used for federal immigration law enforcement undermines effective community policing. before philadelphia became a sanctuary city. they felt they had to allow criminals to walk the streets. >> translator: we used to sell in a shopping cart and suffered discrimination and vandalism. >> reporter: supporters of sanctuary cities argue philadelphia is not just safer, but more prosperous. >> reporter: the last census showed that philadelphia grew for the first time in 60 years. that's because of immigrant communities. so if we want to continue to throw and thrive, we need to send a message that they are welcome and philadelphia is a safe place. >> reporter: it is a division in
perspective. joining me now is the congressman of illinois. he has long fought for comprehensive immigration reform. welcome back to "inside story." >> it's always good to be with you, ray. >> just over 25 years ago, i went to a news conference. the mayor made it clear that chicago police were not going to ask people about their immigration status, and were not going to give information to then ins officials. has that worked for your city? >> it has worked really well in chicago. if you commit a crime, the police are going to arrest you. the courts are going to prosecute you. we are going to sentence you, and if you are undocumented it is fully expected that you will be swiftly deported once you have paid your penalty. that's the law. and so it keeps our community
safe, because now my daughter who goes to a public school with other kids in the community, everybody is out watching for my daughter's best interests and for her safety. i watch out for the other kids. the other kids' parents watch out for mine. we're all in it together as a community of people. it isn't as though it's a cost society where the undocumented work and play and shop in a different place than the rest of us. we're all part of the same community. look, the immigration system is broken because the federal government refuses to take action to fix it. we should fix our broken immigration system. that would allow us to invite millions of people to come forward, ray, provide us where their fingerprints and if they pass a background check, we can give them working documents. we'll know where they live. we'll have them checked by the government, and those remains
outside of the system, we can use the resources to go after them. drug dealers, gang bangers, regardless of their immigration status could be a priority. >> many of your colleagues in congress say this doesn't make sense. if we pick someone up, why not ask them one additional question. are you in the country legally? if we have some reason to believe they may not be? >> sure. and they are going to ask you and me, but they are not going to ask somebody named mr. smith for their -- for their immigration status. they are going to pick and choose and racially profile people, and it is going to make people feel unsafe. and by coming forward if the police department is going to act as an immigration agent, which it shouldn't, look, it says to serve and protect. to serve and protect everyone. we should be going after
criminals, people who do bad things. that's what the marion bartoli is doing now in the enforcement of going out into the neighborhood. but they are working with the police department. i always find this place incredible. we have a republican majority and lots of other members of congress that are always stalk talking about the incubators where they know how to do things right. where washington, d.c. doesn't have a prescription where everybody has to follow it. well, don't you think the local police would know what is best in terms of keeping the local population safe? aren't they the ones best knowing. why do we need a prescription for everyone? one size fits all. so i say let's fix our broken immigration system, we can take the millions undocumented in this country, register those who pass a criminal background check. put them back on the rolls
paying taxes, and now we know where they are at. and the ones that are remaining, we can then use the elements of police enforcement both at the federal and local level to go after them. >> a lot of people didn't realize that this system existed until the terrible case of kate steinly in san francisco who was murdered by a max can national who had already been deported multiple times from the country. he shot her to death. and then people found out wait a minute, there are cities that don't turn people over to immigration authorities. >> number 1, he was arrested and deported on multiple occasions. the system worked. it failed when someone simply didn't go and ask for an arrest warrant. simply go to a local judge and say we want this person held. here is our arrest warrant for
him. it's a tragic case, but at the same time, yeah, our heart goes out to that family, and anybody that loses a child, especially a daughter in such a tragic situation, but we want to keep all of the community safe. the way to do it is pass immigration reform at the federal level let's get people on the books and registered with the government, and do background checks so there are fewer and fewer people we need to go after. this was a failure of the local police enforcement to ask and demand for a warrant for the arrest of that individual -- he was arrested before and promptly deported. listen, that -- that human being that killed that beautiful young lady, i mean he spent more time in jail in the last 20 years than free. coming in and out of the country. you are not going to be able to stop that. what you can do is have a system
that more quickly and rapidly responds. the system worked, and then it failed, and we had a tragedy. >> representative thanks for joining us on "inside story." we invited a long list of republican office holders who have spoken publicly against sanctuary cities to join us on the program. they have not taken the opportunity to do so. when we come back, we'll bring a debate over this approach. does it put localities into the strange position of turning their backs on violations of the law? would pulling local governments into the fight turn the tide against the practice? even save government money in no place to hide? it's the inside story.
♪ you are watching "inside story," i'm ray suarez. no place to hide. this time on the program we're looking at so-called sanctuary cities where local authorities refuse to coordinate with federal agencies when enforcing other statutes. joining me now a research fellow at the national center for public policy research. and immigration policy analyst for the kato institute, and leader of the day laborer organizing network. you just heard the member of
congress who says in its city it is working. what is the problem? >> it is not working. a couple of things. while i think everyone here on this panel are going to say they are in favor of local autonomy, it wouldn't be at the expense of the rest of the country. secondly local and state governments have brood authority in a lot of areas, but the primacy for solving immigration policy rests with the federal government. and that's not something where we're as concerned as much about the development and opportunities for change. that's the responsibility the federal government has to set. >> chris newman, how do you look at this area of our national debate over immigration? the various cities that have tried this, is it working? >> no, it's a disaster. and you need look no further than phoenix, arizona, and the
disaster that occurred with the sheriff, the type of erosion of law enforcement and racial violations that occur when police are entangled with the enforcement of immigration law. this is a radical departure from years of what was kept separate civil law enforcement from the criminal law enforcement. this was an experiment that was tried by the obama administration, it has been a failure, i think it will go down as a blunder of the administration, and it is a method of enforcing laws that have been rejected by communities around the country. >> alex, where do you come down on this? >> clearly the federal government does not have the power to force states to enforce laws they don't want to have to enforce on the federal level.
but it's also important to put this issue into perspective how likely are immigrants likely to commit crimes in the united states. they are much less likely than native americans to do this, no matter what study you look at. and a lot of local police departments think historically going back to 1979 when the first one did a sanctuary city policy, that it allows immigrants to come forward and report other crimes so they can work to decrease the crime rate in the united states. >> how about that horace cooper, that you have to look at a broader context and what you are trying to get done? if you want to scare people away from coming to talk to you, make it clear you are going to check their immigration status if they do. >> the courts are consistently upheld the right of the federal government to stipulate if you are receiving public federal
dollars you must adhere to certain prerogatives to do this. so this makes this very illegal. and the sanctuary city actually gives the space for criminal behavior to take place. and listen to the congressman explain the importance of singling out the gang banger and all of those people. there issing nothing about the sanctuary city concept that wouldn't exist prior and post immigration reform. there will also be that element of the community that for whatever reason isn't interested in cooperating, and you will always be able to make the argument, well, you know what, even though we made it easier for people to become citizens or residents and stay and get a working permit, those that don't, don't we want to engage them with the police? it is a never-ending process, and criminals will exploit this. >> that's the 800-pound
guerrilla in the room, and that's where we'll come back when we return. is the existence of sanctuary cities really a symptom not a cause? is the real problem that congress after congress can't manage the trick of reworking our immigration laws and coming up with a legislative response to those already here illegally. and if you believe immigration reform is still years away, what do you do in the meantime? no place to hide? it's the inside story.
you were about to respond alex. >> yeah, if what he was saying is true, the roll-out of earlier enforcement projects, we would have seen a decrease in crime. but what we saw in looking at this is cities that had it earlier saw no meaningful decrease in crime due to the program. so it's not more likely to be crime prone, and the existence of these federal immigration measures forced on states and localities had no meaningful effect on lowering the crime rate. it forces local and state governments to do what they don't want to do. >> chris earlier in the program, the congressman talked about how comprehensive immigration reform would go along way towards solving this probably regularizing people's status and makes it clear what the rules are. but i wonder if once we do that,
and a lot of people are on the road to some sort of legal status in the country, whether it would simply drive people who remain here illegally even further underground, thus making the problem even worse. >> there are two things that i think everyone agree on. the first is that our immigration laws are outdated, unjust and in need of regulation. the second thing everyone agrees on is the federal government appears to be broken. and we are witnessing quite literally a broken united states congress that has put off the obligation that they have to modernize immigration laws, which has periodically been the obligation of congress. in the meantime communities are left to grapple with a bad situation, and really we are going to have a patch work of different laws for the foreseeable future where some communities will be more like arizona, and others will be more
like san francisco. and i think the choice among reasonable lawmakers, pragmatic lawmakers at the local level is obvious, and, you know, what we're seeing -- >> i want you to respond to horace'sing contention because cities are recipients of federal money, and as a part of the quid pro quo they assure the federal government that they are going to follow the law, that they are duty bound to help enforce federal law. >> there's no question the federal government can condition grants on various things. but it cannot force local governments to get into the federal immigration enforcement business. and what a lot of people are starting to be concerned about is the tendency of federallizing local police. saddling them with obligations particularly when the federal government is failing. plenty of people would like to see the immigration population
reduced and so by all means necessary, i guess, we see people like donald trump imposing a culture of suspicion on all immigrants. but what if the irs is the next agency that tries to yusurp federal enforcement. this is not the kind of -- >> let me get horace to respond to the slippery slope. >> the parade of horribles is a powerful argument to make, but what we're not observing is apparently we can only go one direction. only the san francisco model, only the l.a. model of welcoming, by is a magnet for criminals. it is not the argument that immigrants are overwhelmingly or a significant majority of the crime. it is the case, why should one criminal come to america and see
the sanctuary city as a place of refuge? on the other hand when a state like arizona says you know what we're going to be the opposite of a sanctuary city. we want to be aggressive about limiting the costs that we have to bear. what i don't see is the representative standing up for the autonomous right of the state of arizona to push back and to be aggressive about not welcoming those that are not lawfully allowed to be here. >> states have a lot more power to restrict and control immigration currently than they do to liberallize it or not enforce a lot of these rules. currently, if we were to be fair about it, people on the right would be calling for allowing states to run their own system in addition to the federal system. but now you have a lot of states that are allowed to control a significant number of this regulation. but a lot of them were also struck down by the supreme
court. >> absolutely, and the point is, there have been a lot of the sanctuary ci sanctuary city style advocates that were opponents. >> but the states are not powerless to restrict like you make it out to be. there is a big economic regulation supported by a lot of these anti-immigration states. an enormous intervention into labor markets, yet i don't hear very many people on the right being opposed to that, because it targets their favorite person to target. >> i want to thank by guests. chris newman, alex, and horace cooper a research fellow at the national center for public policy research. i'll be back in a moment with a final thought. stay with us. it's "inside story."
status for chicago. he told me one of the hardest things about being mayor was leading through a debate that didn't pit right versus wrong, but right versus right. conservative members of congress are right when they point out that living in the country while violating the immigration laws is not legal behavior, and cities, cities that are the recipients of a lot of federal money, shouldn't ignore law breaking just because they feel like it. but mayors are right when they say a woman who is witnessed the commission of a violent crime but won't talk into a police station because he is undocumented, or a father who don't get measles shots for his kids because they are in the country illegal, are also a danger to the public order.
and then there is the law of unintended consequences. i'm ray suarez, and that's the inside story. ♪ >> this is aljazeera america, live from new york city. i'm richelle carey, and tony harris is on assignment. >> it is easier in some communities to find a gun than it is to find some fresh vegetables. >> the problems facing the nation's police. president obama talks about the challenges and how to fix them. changing strategies, defense secretary, ashe carter talks about plans for fighting isil.