Standing with Barr, Bevin on legislation opposing sanctuary cities

Published 11:42 am Thursday, July 18, 2019

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Last week, I received a statement to my inbox from U.S. Rep. Andy Barr concerning proposed legislation to prevent sanctuary cities from forming in Kentucky.
While I agree with Barr on his opposition to sanctuary cities, I feel his statement lacked the depth I was looking for as to why citizens in Kentucky should oppose such legislation.
As someone who comes from California, the state where the first sanctuary city was formed in 1985 when San Francisco passed the “city of refuge” resolution, I have seen first-hand what sanctuary cities do to not only the towns they are formed in but the economy in those areas — despite what many mainstream media outlets or politicians will tell you.
Barr said, “I applaud Gov. Matt Bevin, Sen. Danny Carroll, Rep. John Blanton and other state officials for their proposed legislation to prevent cities from enacting ‘sanctuary’ policies that would prevent local law enforcement from cooperating with federal law enforcement… Doing so would set a dangerous precedent. Additionally, any local government that fails to cooperate with federal law enforcement risks being designated a sanctuary city and losing access to federal resources. I appreciate Gov. Bevin and other state leaders who, with this announcement, have recognized that local politics should never supersede public safety.”
Contrary to what some may report, crime and public safety is an important thing to consider when looking at sanctuary cities.
Take the 2015 shooting of Kathryn Steinle on Pier 14 in the Embarcadero district of San Francisco. She was shot by Jose Inez Garcia Zarate.
Zarate claims he found the gun, wrapped it in a cloth and was sitting on a park bench when it accidentally went off — shooting Steinle in the back who died two hours later.
In November of that year, San Francisco acquitted Zarate of all murder and manslaughter charges — even though he was an undocumented immigrant and was a felon in possession of a handgun.
This is just one of many other stories surrounding the controversy of crime in sanctuary cities. I remember the headlines in California all too well when this happened and shouted out with the victim’s family about the injustice that was done in the trial.
Crime is not the only thing I disagree with when looking at the mainstream media’s interpretation of what makes sanctuary cities better for the United States.
One of my main areas of concern is the claim that economies are stronger in sanctuary counties. It is also reported median household incomes are reportedly higher and poverty and unemployment rate is lower.
However, you have to read the small print which tells you these results hold true across sanctuary counties with the smallest populations. These statistics would then fail to be accurate in a place like San Francisco —or perhaps any sanctuary city in California.
First hand, I experienced the absolute opposite in my time on the West Coast. The economy was horrible. There were at least 50 plus applicants for every job, and employers let you know they could get someone else to replace you and work for less. You want to know why? Because they could. Not only that, you were competing against undocumented illegal immigrants.
In my findings, reports on sanctuary cities will conclude that long term consequences have not been analyzed. I agree, and wonder how many people would be in favor of sanctuary cities after visiting one?
Granted, I am not naïve to think all sanctuary cities look the same. I also know my argument uses mainly San Francisco as an example.
I remember visiting San Francisco as a child in the 1980s, throughout the years growing up, and then again shortly before moving to Central Kentucky. I took my kids to the pier on our last trip, and had no explanation for the amount of homeless, the drug addicts overdosing on the sidewalk we were forced to step over as first responders helped the best they could (without being able to arrest them and get them off the street) or the defecation and public urination by the homeless and illegals night and day in front of citizens.
In addition to all this, California is facing a homeless issue. Recently, the Los Angeles Times addressed this and claimed in an editorial the homelessness was caused by local residents being priced out of their apartments by rents rising faster than their incomes.
A resident addressed this in a letter to the editor and stated that rent is a result of supply and demand. I wholeheartedly agree.
Fewer rental units and an increasing population will cause prices to go up. The letter writer goes on to state that third-world poverty makes an already bad situation worse as the more people coming into the state will compete for the lowest rental properties. I also agree. The same goes for jobs and employers paying their employees a less than honest wage.
I believe California is seeing the downfall of sanctuary cities and it shows. In recent statistics, 53 percent of Californians reported they are considering fleeing the state. The number one reason — housing cost and availability.
My hope for Kentucky is voters stand with Bevin and Barr and oppose any legislation in favor of sanctuary cities.

Brittany Fuller is the editor of The Jessamine Journal and Jessamine Life magazine. She can be reached at

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