Opioid Fix: Stop Funding Sanctuary Cities



How best to combat America’s opioid epidemic? Make sanctuary cities go cold turkey.

Under pressure to do something – anything – Congress earmarked $6 billion to bolster drug enforcement and treatment programs. Since $6 billion doesn’t buy what it once did, Democrats and softheaded Republicans are clamoring for more.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden, R-Ore., opened congressional hearings this week on the opioid crisis with a promise: “There’s going to be money – more money than has ever been spent.”

But throwing more tax dollars at the problem is the wrong approach. Let’s break it down.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) reports that 80 percent of the illegal opioids sold in this country come via Mexican and Central American drug cartels.

It’s no coincidence that the spike in opioid abuse coincided with the proliferation of sanctuary cities, which disrupt communication between local police agencies, who make the bulk of drug arrests, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

While handcuffing law enforcement and facilitating the opioid distribution chain, open-borders advocates blame Americans’ demand for driving the drug epidemic. They argue that illegal aliens are being used as scapegoats.

In fact, illegal aliens fit right in. Seventy-five percent of federal convictions of illegal aliens are for drug possession. Another 18 percent involve drug trafficking.

Denver Police Detective Nick Rogers recently testified how drug runners in his city are mainly young illegal aliens from Mexico and Central America. He detailed how sanctuary policies undermine law enforcement on the front lines.

A key cog in the drug machine is the Mexican MS-13 gang, which the Center for Immigration Studies found to be particularly active in sanctuary cities.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced last July that state and local governments would no longer qualify for the Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) program and Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grants unless they give immigration authorities access to local jails, 48 hours’ notice before releasing undocumented immigrants from custody, and personal information about individuals suspected of being in the country illegally. 

But cutting off federal funds to sanctuary cities faces ongoing court challenges. San Francisco and California are suing to block the Trump administration from withholding $28 million in law-enforcement funds from sanctuaries there.

Congress should weigh in. Instead of slapping more expensive Band-Aids on the opioid problem – and toying with yet another amnesty to reward lawless behavior – lawmakers can exercise their power of the purse to deal with jurisdictions that enable alien drug pushers. Passing the Stop Dangerous Sanctuary Cities Act would halt federal funding to sanctuary cities whose dangerous policies aid and abet foreign narcotics cartels.

That vote won’t cost a dime; it will save taxpayer money, uphold the rule of law and spare lives.

About Author

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Bob Dane, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)'s Executive Director, has been with FAIR since 2006. His deep belief is that immigration is the most transformational determinant of where we are heading as a nation and that our policies must be reformed in the public interest. Over many years on thousands of radio, TV and print interviews, Bob has made the case that unless immigration is regulated and sensibly reduced, it will be difficult for America to reduce unemployment, increase wages, improve health care and education and heighten national security. Prior to joining FAIR, Bob spent twenty years in network radio, marketing and communications after an earlier career in policy and budgeting within the Reagan Administration. Bob has a degree from George Mason University in Public Administration and Management.

5 Comments

  1. avatar

    According to a lot of the media there really is no such thing as sanctuary cities. But the reason for that is they simply don’t like a term that accurately points out a situation, such as anchor baby. What other term is better to describe a child born here to illegal parents whose birth makes the rest of the family that much harder to deport.

    The media also has been insistent for years that there is no such thing as “no go zones” in Europe, and that people like Trump were lying when they said that. But even Angela Merkel of Germany is now admitting they exist and leaders in Sweden are saying that the army may be required to go into certain areas.

    If there was ever an example of the bias of the press, it has to be the fact that so many outlets have spent the last couple weeks describing Trump’s behavior as erratic and unstable. Chuck Tod asked Trump cabinet member Wilbur Ross.this morning on Meet The Press if Trump’s announcement of tariffs on steel was not a sign of “erratic” behavior. To which Ross replied how could it be erratic or unexpected when Trump said in 2016 that he was going to do that exact thing. If anyone is bonkers, it’s the media and their Trump derangement syndrome.

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  3. avatar

    Agreed! Let’s stop funding sanctuary cities, but not because they are opium dens, but because it is wrong to do so.

    The drug problem can only be solved by total legalization of all drugs. In that way the price of drugs will go down dramatically, taking away the incentive to sell drugs and the drug users can indulge themselves literally to their deaths, eliminating the user problem.