Did the Washington Post just come out against sanctuary cities?

The short answer to the title question is… not really. But there seems to be a distant light flickering a long way down the tunnel, indicating that the WaPo editorial board isn’t willing to sign on to the most extreme examples of “fighting Trump” on the subject of illegal immigrants. In one of their most recent editorials, the board brings up the subject of D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and her recently announced plan to provide grant funding to pay for defense lawyers for “undocumented immigrants” (read: illegal aliens) who may be facing deportation after being arrested. This is a clearly designed and highly political pushback against President Trump’s plans to crack down on sanctuary cities.

The Post’s editorial board begins with the usual nod to how this is “an admirable goal” but then breaks into a caveat which had my jaw dropping. (Emphasis added)

In drafting the program’s fine print, however, D.C. officials should take care: It’s not just most undocumented immigrants facing legal travails who merit protections. So do ordinary Washingtonians

Nonetheless, it is worth bearing in mind the unhappy experience of some other so-called sanctuary cities, whose zeal to defy federal immigration authorities has at times defeated common sense. In the prime example, San Francisco officials in 2015 ignored a detainer, an official request from federal immigration officials seeking custody of an undocumented immigrant with a long record of drug offenses. The man should have been turned over to federal officials; instead, he was released. A few weeks later, he shot and killed a young woman strolling with her father on the waterfront.

I’m still in shock. The board just referenced Kate Steinle. I honestly didn’t think there was a major liberal newspaper in the country that even knew her name. They then go on (with a few more compliments tossed to Bowser) to suggest that just maybe this new policy should exempt illegal immigrants who have a history of violent felonies or warrants for same and not offer them these taxpayer funded services to help them avoid deportation. There’s even an implication that it might be wise for the cops to turn them over to ICE.

Sadly, they finish by muddying the waters and referencing related policies in New York City.

Other cities, including New York, have taken steps to protect some ex-convict undocumented immigrants from deportation but not others, depending on the severity of their crimes. That’s a sound policy, and D.C. officials should take note.

The Post is covering their bases here and making sure to stay on the wrong side of the law (but the right side of history!) in most cases. They still stubbornly refuse to admit that people who are in the country illegally are actually already breaking the law without any further, violent offense, and that it’s the job of immigration enforcement to get them out of the country as often as can be managed. In that regard, this isn’t really a huge change for them and I’m sure they’ll be battling President Trump on this issue on a daily basis.

But by being willing to admit that violent illegal aliens sometimes kill people and just perhaps that’s a bad thing, there seems to be some sign of movement here. Is it the Trump Effect showing up in his new hometown newspaper’s management? That’s probably too much to hope for and they’d never admit it even if it were true. But still… a little progress is better than none.