Rep. Hunter has come out boldly and strongly against the sheer concept of sanctuary. On February 9th , 2017 he authored a press release (https://hunter.house.gov/press-release/hunter-announces-he-won%E2%80%99t-submit-federal-funding-requests-sanctuaries) stating that he will not perform a standard duty of his job – namely interceding on behalf of us: the residents, cities, businesses and agencies within the district – if the entity requesting his assistance, requesting him to intercede or advocate on their behalf is identified via law, policy or practice as a sanctuary. Per the Washington Times Rep. Hunter will not only ask the entity to certify that they are not a sanctuary but he will also conduct his own assessment to ensure that cooperation with federal immigration services is occurring (http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/feb/9/duncan-hunter-deny-funding-sanctuaries-district/ ).
This means Rep. Hunter will not lift a finger on behalf of the state of California, the county of San Diego, our school police/security, or our state and local law enforcement if CA SB-54 passes (as of 2/15/17 the bill is still in committee), which given that Democrats hold a majority in our state legislature the bill has a high chance of passing. A copy of the bill can be found at: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180SB54 but in short the bill states that state and local law enforcement, as well as school police/security cannot use any of their funds to conduct immigration related investigation/enforcement as immigration is, by law, a federal not a state issue. This in a nutshell is what makes a city, county or state a sanctuary city, county or state.
Thus, with the passage of this bill California would become a sanctuary state and Rep. Hunter would no longer be doing any advocacy on our behalf, for according to Rep. Hunter: “Sanctuaries that defy federal immigration laws should be held accountable,” … “If a state or local entity prefers to violate the law and not cooperate on federal immigration matters, this should be an immediate disqualifier for federal funding.”… “Members of Congress share a responsibility to ensure jurisdictions and entities within their Congressional Districts are abiding by the law. The submission of a federal funding request for sanctuaries is irresponsible and rewards disregard for the law—and I can’t support that. It’s my hope that many of my colleagues will take this same approach when considering funding requests for the next fiscal year.”
On the off chance that we, the American people, and we, the residents of the 50th congressional district, are unclear how Rep. Hunter feels about the radical notion of keeping local law enforcement local, he has introduced a bill H.R. 483 the “No Funding for Sanctuary Campuses Act”. The intended purpose of this bill is, “To amend title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 to prohibit the provision of funds under such title to institutions of higher education that violate the immigration laws, and for other purposes” (https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/483/text).
If Rep. Hunter’s bill H.R. 483 and CA-SB54 both pass then each of the public universities in our county would lose federal funding. Independent of these bills is the UC system’s pledge to fight any repeal of DACA and UC Chancellor Janet Napolitano’s statement, “UC chancellors and I have reaffirmed our intentions to ensure that every corner of the University of California remains welcoming, safe and inclusive for all” (http://www.latimes.com/local/education/la-me-ln-uc-regents-meeting-01252017-story.html) and Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom’s urging of the UC and CSU systems to take on sanctuary campus status (http://eastcountymagazine.org/hunter-bill-would-defund-sanctuary-cities-states-and-colleges-his-action-could-mean-huge-loss-funds). Thus even if CA-SB54 failed, the odds are quite high the Rep. Hunter’s bill would directly impact the universities in our midst.
Simply to grasp a sense of the impact of universities in our region, UCSD has been reported to have a $5.7 billion dollar impact on San Diego County (http://chancellor.ucsd.edu/archive/presentations/maf_presentation_economic_impact.pdf), a $7.2 billion dollar impact on the state and generates 39,000 jobs (http://ucsdnews.ucsd.edu/archive/thisweek/2008/10/06_econimpact.asp), CSUSM provides a $228.6 million dollar impact on our region, a $327.5 million dollar impact to our state and provides 2,300 jobs (https://www.calstate.edu/impact/campus/sanmarcos.html), while SDSU is reported to have a $6.5 billion dollar impact on our state (http://newscenter.sdsu.edu/sdsu_newscenter/news_story.aspx?sid=72137) and sustains 9,000 jobs. Needless to say these universities are cornerstones in our local economy.
If nothing else, putting fundamental philosophical positions aside, I believe that it is Rep. Hunter’s job to put the interests of our region, the very real economic impact universities have on our region, above his political opinions on immigration; opinions that are not ground in fact.
Other than defying the might of the federal government Rep. Hunter does not delineate his rationale as to why he is so ardently opposed to sanctuary status while Mr. Trump’s ire against sanctuary cities is rooted in his belief that sanctuary status makes a community less safe. However this is far from the truth. Sanctuary counties have been shown to have less crime and more economic growth than non-sanctuary counties, a fact that makes common sense – if every community member is safe to contact the police in times of need, then the community will be safer and a safer community will be a more productive community. Ironically one of the most recent studies showing the benefits of sanctuary status was conducted by a political scientist, Dr. Tom K. Wong, at none other but our very own, UCSD. Dr. Wong’s report can be found at: https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/immigration/reports/2017/01/26/297366/the-effects-of-sanctuary-policies-on-crime-and-the-economy/
with additional information at: http://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2017/01/29/512002076/why-sanctuary-cities-are-safer
So, raise your voices and 1) tell Rep. Hunter that you disagree with his press release and his bill H.R. 483 and 2) ask Rep. Hunter to provide an op-ed, a press release or any other public statement explaining his fact-based rationale as to why the concept of sanctuary must be so vehemently opposed.