Commentary

JACK MAYNE EDITORIAL: ‘Sanctuary City’ label will change absolutely nothing


Commentary by Senior Writer Jack Mayne

(click “Play” button to hear audio version:)

The proposal to make Burien a so-called ‘sanctuary city’ will change absolutely nothing in the way undocumented aliens are already treated.

For two decades, the King County Sheriff’s department has had rules that it would not enforce federal immigration laws. The sheriff’s department is contracted to be the local Burien Police Department.

Local law enforcement enforces local laws. Federal agencies enforce federal laws that include all immigration statutes – they do not enforce state laws or local ordinances.

Over the years, Burien Police and the King County sheriff’s officers have backed up federal officers when they have the appropriate federal warrants declaring a person may be in violation of federal immigration laws or criminal statutes.

The B-Town Blog has posted a voluntary poll on the matter and, as of Friday noon, 602 people voted in the poll, and 57 percent, or 341 people, said there should not be a sanctuary law in the city. But 41 percent, or 244 people, voted there should be such a city ordinance. The poll is constructed in a way that a person can vote only once from each IP address.

So, why did Councilmembers Lauren Berkowitz, Nancy Tosta and Austin Bell propose that a city ordinance be created to do what is already being one by its city police and federal agencies? Why was over two hours taken up to discuss a measure that’s only significance is a ‘feel good’ measure of support of a group of people?

Many residents say the council should stop pushing things that have little effect to the city’s residents. Many of our readers think the Council should spend its time working on the many issues facing the city, not trying to make grandiose statement that have little effect other than to make some citizens feel better.

But many others feel such a sanctuary ordinance will make the aliens who have come here to escape problems of their birth countries feel more welcome.

We believe that doing something that accomplishes nothing is a waste of time and effort. Burien Councilmembers have many more important matters – those that do directly affect its citizens. We can be accepting and understanding of new comers without passing ordinances that accomplish nothing beyond expressing goodwill to all people.

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