Finding Peace in a Sanctuary City


San Francisco reaffirms their residents that they will remain a sanctuary city, and protect undocumented citizens. Photo credit: William Nacouzi

What I find very important about the city of San Francisco and the people I find there, is a sense of protection and belonging. Growing up less than 10 miles from San Francisco, I never felt alienated from society. Not until I attended school. But, whenever I visit Haight and Ashbury to grab some pizza or Hunters Point to pick up my lady, I’ve never experienced anything but safety and belonging in San Francisco.

Sanctuary cities have been a controversial topic in 2017. Since San Francisco is a sanctuary city, we limit our cooperation with federal immigration authorities. In other words, San Francisco doesn’t enforce immigration laws.

Now that I’m older, I realize that society nitpicks what they do and do not like such as skin color, religious beliefs, or even body image. Different societies, big or small, cultivate a certain type of culture. San Francisco not only protects its people, but they allow new people to integrate themselves and become legitimate citizens.

Whenever President Donald Trump speaks about keeping illegal immigrants out of the country, I can’t help but think about how broad of a statement that is. He wants to keep the potential threat out but won’t think about laws that he immediately signs on. The only thing he’s developing is hostility among a group of people that are being stereotyped and denied entry into the country.

The more you alienate citizens from society, the more hostile they become. It’s better to invest in your population and potential citizens because it allows more contributions to your society.

NPR reported on Aarhus, a town in Denmark, which has their own approach to counter-terrorism. After realizing that young men and women were going to Syria to join ISIS, they wanted to figure out prevention measures because the rest of Europe was beginning to crack down on citizens who travel to Syria. Instead of cracking down on these kids, their preventive measures was to welcome them back home, help them go back to school, find an apartment, meet with a psychiatrist or mentor or whatever else they needed to feel part of society.

When comparing President Trump’s view on public safety to the police chiefs and mayors in the United States’ 10 major cities, including Oakland and San Francisco, it’s like comparing apples to oranges. Instead of resolving conflicts between people or communities by sending them away, insulting them, and isolating them from society, San Francisco exercises their democracy by sharing their community with immigrants and their views and values.

On the flip side, sanctuary citie can potentially house criminals from different countries. CNBC reports that “Trump believes that these sanctuary cities produce a lot of problems.” Although sanctuary cities welcome people who are undocumented, criminals may use these cities as an opportunity to escape from their country.

NPR states, “on average, [sanctuary] counties that did not comply with ICE requests experienced 35.5 fewer crimes per 10,000 people than those that did.” Overall, not only do I believe sanctuary cities are healthy for the society to reintegrate new people, but they make them much safer as well.

This goes to show that sanctuary cities can be a benefit to a city and national security.