Two weeks after the tragic shooting of a San Francisco woman, nativist leaders are continuing to focus on so-called sanctuary cities. Such policies are the focus of a panel discussion at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C this morning organized by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS).
The event will undoubtedly further the false narrative of criminalizing immigrants that the organized anti-immigrant movement frequently promotes. The movement has predictably increased its focus on sanctuary policies in the days and weeks following the San Francisco murder.
CIS recruits nativist allies
Two longtime allies of the nativist movement, Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA), and Sheriff Chuck Jenkins of Frederick County, Maryland, will help CIS in their effort by participating in the panel discussion.
Barletta serves on the Federation for American Immigration Reform’s (FAIR) board of advisers. He is also a member of the FAIR-affiliated House Immigration Reform Caucus (IRC) and serves as one of the anti-immigrant movement’s most reliable allies in Congress. He recently re-introduced a bill that would block the country’s more than 250 jurisdictions with sanctuary policies from receiving any federal financial assistance.
Jenkins has also maintained close ties to the organized anti-immigrant movement over the years. He has attended FAIR’s annual “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” media and lobbying event in Washington, D.C. multiple times and participated in a four-day, “fact finding mission” on the U.S.-Mexico border organized by FAIR in July 2014. Jenkins was a featured speaker at FAIR’s 2009 board of advisors meeting.
A proponent of the anti-immigrant movement’s “attrition through enforcement” agenda, Jenkins’ Frederick County is the only county in Maryland that maintains a 287(g) agreement with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He has previously argued that an “Arizona type law” or statewide 287(g) participation would be “ideal for Maryland.”
Rounding out today’s panel will be CIS staff members Jessica Vaughan and Dan Cadman.
CIS leans on false research
Today’s panel comes at a time when some of CIS’ latest research, a new map purporting to identify sanctuary policies in cities, counties, and states, is rightfully coming under scrutiny and criticism. Of course, CIS omits research finding that sanctuary city policies can improve the relationship between law enforcement and immigrant communities, leading to lower crime and greater protections for survivors of violence.
Evaluations of sanctuary policies aside, CIS not surprisingly appears to be wrong on the facts. Officials in several of the counties CIS identified have expressed objections to CIS’ assertion that their jurisdictions follow sanctuary policies.
“We are in no way a sanctuary county… We are working to strengthen relations with ICE,” one Nebraska county attorney told The Omaha World-Herald. A public information officer for the Polk County Sheriffs’ Department in Iowa similarly told the paper, “ICE has been welcome and is currently coming into our jail to look people over.”
Elsewhere in Iowa, Sheriff Dan Altena of Sioux County Iowa told KIWA Radio that CIS’ characterization of his county as a sanctuary was “totally errant, totally false.”
Despite this, CIS staff have labeled all of these jurisdictions as sanctuaries – continuing its long tradition of inflating perceived threats and misrepresenting or outright obfuscating any information that contravenes its nativist policy goals.
With its panel at the National Press Club predicated on such dubious research, expect more of the same from CIS today.