Illegal immigration continues to be one of the major issues discussed by the Republican presidential candidates, which just goes to show how eager their voter base is to stick it to people who aren’t affecting them in any way. It’s sort of like same-sex marriage, where Republicans claim that they’re forcing it on people. No, they’re not forcing anyone to get married to anyone else of any gender. Telling people they can’t marry because they’re the same sex is simply a matter of persecution, not of religious freedom or judicial activism. Immigration might not be quite as simple, but why do people care so much about putting undocumented immigrants in their place? What did these immigrants ever do to them? Bill O’Reilly and some of his compatriots were making a big deal over a murderer being in the country illegally, as if that were somehow significant to the case.
I mean, it might be to the sentencing judge, but how is it to anybody else? A murder isn’t as bad if the perpetrator is an American citizen?
Donald Trump wants to build a wall on the border with Mexico, and then put a single door in it. Are people going to Mexico and to the United States going to be using the same door? That could get messy. And why are the same people claiming the United States is the greatest country in the world telling others they can’t live here? Does the nation only have value if you can deny it to someone else?
One term I hear thrown around a lot these days is “sanctuary cities,” which isn’t new, but I don’t recall it being used quite as much before. It’s sort of like how using “illegal” as a noun is something I never used to come across, but now it’s incredibly common. The Wikipedia entry dates the first use of this designation to 1979, and makes it clear that it’s not at all a legal term. I’m apparently not the only one who, upon hearing these words, thought of the cities of refuge mentioned in the Bible, part of the archaic legal code practiced by the ancient Israelites. Basically, they were six cities under the control of the Levites that would offer asylum to accused killers.
An alleged murderer would flee to one of these places and be allowed to live there until standing trial for the crime. If they left the city of refuge prematurely, it was perfectly legal for vengeance seekers to kill them. As conservative Christians are fond of pointing out, this isn’t the same as a city that doesn’t report undocumented immigrants. Still, the principle seems somewhat similar, and perhaps more importantly, since when is the word “sanctuary” used in a negative sense?