Letter to the editor on sanctuary policy

On December 2, Emily Townsend, Jeremiah Nisbet, and Thomas Nephew drafted and sent the following letter to the Washington Post.  We haven’t heard back from them, and have decided to publish it here:

To the Editors,
The November 30th editorial, “Trump pledged to ‘end’ sanctuary cities. Common sense, not threats, should guide him”, suggested that local sanctuary policies expose communities to risks from dangerous criminals, and that local governments should resign themselves to cooperating with “reasonable” federal guidelines weakening sanctuary policies. 

We disagree, and believe that decisions about local law enforcement priorities are best left to local governments to decide.  Sanctuaries do far more to enhance safety and security than harm it, because they encourage an otherwise isolated community to talk with police rather than hide from them. City and county councils and the police departments they oversee are fully capable of balancing the great benefits of sanctuary against the risks.

Indeed, we think our own community in Montgomery County would benefit from strong ordinances guaranteeing the separation of local law enforcement from the unrelated realm of immigration law.  A model ordinance developed by the Bill of Rights Defense Committee/Defending Dissent Foundation proposes an end to local-federal immigration agreements such as 287gs, an end to the use of county jails as de facto immigration detention facilities, and an end to sharing data about local undocumented detainees unless related to suspected violent felonies.  We urge everyone to look at this ordinance at www.bordc.org and see if it is a good fit for their locality.

Its our right to make these decisions for ourselves.  We know our communities, we know what works, and we know what will keep us safer.  Let our sanctuary communities thrive in peace.

Thomas Nephew, Emily Townsend, Jeremiah Nisbet
(first two links added)

We drafted and sent this letter during an initial meeting of the “Civil Liberties/Civil Rights Committee of the “Takoma Park Mobilization.” (We didn’t say that in the letter, since we can’t speak for the whole group.)

Immigration Enforcement and Sanctuary Cities. Graphic by Catholic Legal Immigration Network, https://cliniclegal.org/programs/advocacy

Immigration Enforcement and Sanctuary Cities. Graphic by Catholic Legal Immigration Network, https://cliniclegal.org/programs/advocacy

The “mobilization” is a remarkable grass roots Takoma Park uprising — a recent meeting at Piney Branch ES had at least 300 in attendance.  Initiated by Nadine Bloch, Seth Grimes, and Jen Wofford, the mobilization aims to organize grass roots resistance to the Trump agenda in all its forms, whether the environment, health care, women’s rights, or other issues — like civil liberties, civil rights, or immigration policy — are at stake.  To learn more about “Takoma Park Mobilization“:

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