New York’s blind adherence to a “sanctuary city” policy will all but guarantee that a large portion, perhaps as much as 10 percent, of the city’s budget coming from the federal government will be withheld by President‑elect Trump soon after he takes office on Jan. 20. Estimated at more than $7 billion, it will trigger a financial crisis with far-reaching consequences leading to higher taxes and steep reductions in social services that will hit the most vulnerable New Yorkers hardest.
With that in mind, both Mayor de Blasio and City Comptroller Scott Stringer are setting the stage for this inevitable showdown and if history is any guide, politicians will seek to place the blame on others to shield themselves from the political fallout that will surely occur.
Trump’s pledge to the 62 million Americans of all backgrounds who voted for him was to turn off the federal funding spigot to cities like New York for refusing to end their controversial sanctuary city policies. Trump’s message to these mayors was clear: Protect law-abiding city residents from harm by deporting undocumented individuals convicted of serious crimes or choose to allow these felons to stay and roam the streets unimpeded. Unfortunately, and to the detriment of law-abiding residents, the mayor, city comptroller and most of the City Council have decided in favor of the felons.
In an extraordinary and unprecedented move to prevent the federal government from learning the identities and whereabouts of some of these undocumented felons, the mayor has threatened to destroy the multimillion-dollar, taxpayer-funded NYC ID card program database, which holds the identities of tens of thousands of New Yorkers, some of whom may be undocumented criminal aliens. In the weeks ahead, when the fiscal calamity hits and the federal funds stop flowing, expect to be lectured by city leaders who will be deflecting responsibility for their own actions and failures. New Yorkers would be wise to remain skeptical.
Trump’s widely reported policy agenda and his repeated clarion call have been to first deport convicted felons who are here illegally—not undocumented individuals and families who have no criminal records. Next, secure the borders and only then begin a national dialogue on dealing fairly with families that have been productive, law-abiding members of society but are here illegally and trapped in immigration limbo. Trump’s detractors have tried to change this narrative by characterizing him as anti-immigration and misstating his position as favoring deportation of all undocumented individuals.
Many mainstream voters believe identifying and deporting undocumented individuals convicted of serious crimes is not only responsible but an essential prerequisite to maintaining safety on our streets. Unfortunately, this worthy policy debate and any rational discussion of it is simply not possible in today’s political climate where individuals that merely raise the subject are accused of racism, bigotry and xenophobia, ironically, by those preaching loudest for tolerance and inclusion.
Stringer announced that his office is studying the effects of a federal funding curtailment on New York. In a city with an insatiable appetite for revenue, we can expect to see significant property tax, income tax and nuisance fee increases. The new Trump administration will surely be blamed for this as his detractors lose no time distorting his positions to deflect their own blame. But make no mistake about it, the financial crisis caused by the loss of federal dollars rests squarely on the shoulders of city leaders whose refusal to budge from their ideological adherence to an unalterable sanctuary city policy has put us all in great peril.
This “Progressive City-be-damned” mind set is motivated by a rigid ideology whose unyielding approach to sanctuary city policy dictates that no one should be deported, under any circumstances, at any time—not even dangerous criminals — and makes no distinction between law-abiding undocumented individuals and those convicted of serious crimes. The mayor, the comptroller and much of our City Council seem all too eager to take this risky gamble by refusing to negotiate a sanctuary city policy and plunging this city into the financial abyss. This gamble will not only put our safety at risk but will also cause great financial harm for which all New Yorkers will have to pay.
Bob Friedrich is President of Glen Oaks Village a civic leader and former candidate for the NYC Council.
©2016 Community News Group
By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:
You agree that you, and not TimesLedger.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to TimesLedger.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.