Congress barred local ordinances that prohibit employees from providing information on illegal aliens in The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigration Responsibility Act of 1996:



(a) IN GENERAL.—Notwithstanding any other provision of Federal, State, or local law, a Federal, State, or local government entity or official may not prohibit, or in any way restrict, any government entity or official from sending to, or receiving from, the Immigration and Naturalization Service information regarding the citizenship or immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of any individual.

(b) ADDITIONAL AUTHORITY OF GOVERNMENT ENTITIES.—Notwithstanding any other provision of Federal, State, or local law, no person or agency may prohibit, or in any way restrict, a Federal, State, or local government entity from doing any of the following with respect to information regarding the immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of any individual:

(1) Sending such information to, or requesting or receiving such information from, the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

(2) Maintaining such information.

(3) Exchanging such information with any other Federal, State, or local government entity.


However, this law does not indicate any penalties for cities that do not comply.


It should be noted that the church-based sanctuary practices of the 1980s actively sheltered illegal aliens, whereas sanctuary city laws - including Oberlin's - passively resist federal law by refusing to collect or report immigration information.  Thus, comparison with the church-based practices is invalid.


"This argument [in favor of sanctuary] ignores the fact that if illegal aliens were deterred from coming or were removed, the problem of the spread of communicable diseases and some forms of crime could be diminished."  We could also eliminate ovarian cancer by deporting all of the women.  The argument is based on unfounded stereotypes of immigrants being diseased and criminals.


The article makes undocumented generalizations that illegal immigrants depress wages, lower work standards, add to overcrowding, erode the tax base, and cause urban flight and deteriorization.  We should base our laws on hard facts, not undocumented generalizations.  The little documentation that is provided was written by William H. Frey, who also wrote, "There is actually little need to worry about immigration.  It adds a needed youthful element to a population that would become stagnant if it had to rely on the far-below-replacement fertility of the nation's aging native-born whites.  Their infusion into the workforce will be especially useful to retiring boomers who wish to be supported in their golden years."


The article states that illegal immigration "lowers wages and work standards at the low end of the job market."  This ignores the wholesale legal exportation of well-paying engineering and manufacturing jobs.  (I used to work at Emerson Network Power in Lorain, and I know where those jobs went!)


The article ends by claiming that "sanctuary policies seriously hamper efforts to harness local police capabilities in augmenting federal enforcement of immigration laws."  However, according to a DOJ Office of the Inspector General report: "Our review did not disclose any instances of outright failure to cooperate with ICE in the removal of criminal aliens from the United States.  Instead, we found that local jurisdictions often set the enforcement of state and local law as a priority, while sometimes permitting or encouraging law enforcement agencies and officers to work with ICE to some degree on immigration matters."


The document presented to the Oberlin Human Relations Committee also contained references to pending legislation (H.R.6789, H.R.3549, H.R.3638, and S.2713), which would tighten restrictions against sanctuary cities.  However, it is not expected that any of these bills will be acted on or passed in the foreseeable future.