But we must also not allow this tragedy to eliminate sanctuary cities, which have proven to be important for the safety of our neighborhoods by promoting trust between residents and law enforcement. As former San Jose Police Chief Rob Davis explained back in 2004: “We have been fortunate enough to solve some terrible cases because of the willingness of illegal immigrants to step forward, and if they saw us as part of the immigration services, I just don’t know if they’d do that anymore.”
As we see Republicans playing politics with this tragedy, it is important to note that it was House Republicans who blocked the comprehensive immigration reform bill that the Senate approved overwhelmingly more than two years ago.
Now their inaction is coming home to roost. This bipartisan legislation would have made our country and communities safer by making enormous investments in border security – adding 20,000 more Border Patrol agents, increasing surveillance, and hiring additional prosecutors and judges to boost prosecutions of illegal border crossings. The measure would also have made clear that serious or violent felons will never get a pathway to citizenship or legal status.
We cannot allow this tragedy to become an excuse for prejudice and racism.