Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Is Houston A Sanctuary City For Immigrants?—I Sure Hope So

Is Houston, Texas a so-called sanctuary city for illegal or undocumented immigrants?

This is an ongoing subject of debate in Houston.

The core of the matter is do police and other officials ask people they come in contact with, if they are legally in the United States.

It seems that on the whole, whatever city officials might claim, the basic policy of Houston and much of the surrounding area conforms with the idea of a sanctuary city.

Though here is a conflicting view from the Houston Catholic Worker.

From the Catholic Worker article, here are some proposed immigration policy guidelines from the Catholic Bishops of California.

–Easily available temporary visas for those willing to work

– Improved border security and enhanced humanitarian training for border guards

– Fair and equitable rules and reasonable time frames for processing applications to become legal permanent residents

– Compassionate rules and practical time frames for family reunification for legal resident aliens and naturalized citizens

– Reasonable requirements for legal residents to become citizens.

– Recognition of the impact of globalization and free trade on patterns of migration.

I support the idea of  Houston being a sanctuary city for the following reasons—

1. It is the job of the federal government to police immigration. The federal government can’t come up with a coherent policy.

2. Allowing immigrants to go about their affairs reflects the fact that much of our local economy turns of the work these people do, and that Houston residents don’t complain about cheap prices brought about by cheap labor.

3. It would inject a measure of humanity into a city that has, justifiably, pollution, massive freeways lined with billboards, and longstanding poverty, as a large part of what it is know for across the country.

Of course the promise of sanctuary is only as good as the people making the promise.

Here is an example of a pledge of sanctuary in 19th-century American history from a book called Sitting Bull and the Paradox of Lakota Nationhood by Gary Anderson.

From the book—

“Several hundred Cheyennes and Arapahos had settled at Sand Creek in southeastern Colorado after the army had assured them of the regions’ safety. Unfortunately, a vengeful colonel in the Colorado militia, John Chivington had no intention of honoring this sanctuary. He attacked the village and killed several hundred people.”

I’m not suggesting city officials in Houston or elsewhere in America will shoot undocumented people. You don’t have to shoot them when they die crossing the desert or sink while coming to America on a leaky boat.

Who cares how they got here as long as we can get cheap labor when needed, or have a ready made political issue when that is what is required?

Promises of sanctuary are as good as the political needs of the politicians, and as good as the morality of the electorate when they feel under economic stress.

Which in short means that Hispanic folks and other immigrants from across the world had better start registering to vote and taking part in the political process.

January 10, 2008 - Posted by | Houston, Immigration, Politics | , , , , , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: