Republicans are shocked, shocked I tell you, that citizens of this great nation would dare to defy federal dictates:
Lawmakers voted [last month] to cut funding for cities and towns that refuse to comply with federal immigration laws as they debated how to respond to the fatal shooting of a young woman in San Francisco in which the suspect had been deported to Mexico five times. A bill that passed the House on a largely party-line vote, 241-179, attempts to bring in line so-called sanctuary cities, which offer safe havens to people in the country illegally by barring municipal employees from asking about their immigration status, and other places that refuse to comply with federal requests to detain people who are in the U.S. illegally.1
Without getting drawn into the larger debate about so-called "sanctuary cities"--cities like San Francisco that refuse to enforce federal immigration laws--I would like to point out that Republicans and conservatives who call for cutting off federal funding to such cities are, at best, hypocrites and, at worst, stupid hypocrites.
Why? Because Republicans and conservatives oppose, as a matter of First Principles, having the federal government throw its weight around to coerce states and localities into conforming to its tyrannical dictates: Exhibit A being the conservative opposition to the Obamacare expansion of Medicaid, which included a mandate that states unwilling to abide by the expansion would lose all Medicaid funding. This egregious attempt by Washington to impose its will on fifty sovereign states was denounced by conservatives and eventually overturned by the conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court--even though the Medicaid funding in question was coming from the federal treasury, over which (one assumes) the federal government has purview.
That, of course, is only one example, which could be easily multiplied--by invoking, say, the name "Cliven Bundy," or Senator Mitch McConnell's advice that Republican governors ignore EPA mandates, or Richard Mack and his "Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association" ("The States do not have to take or support or pay for Obamacare or anything else from Washington DC. The States are not subject to federal direction.").
So conservatives adamantly oppose federal bullying, including what we might call "bullying by purse strings"--and yet that is exactly what they now want done to sanctuary cities. Do they see the contradiction inherent in this position? Perhaps they do, in which case they can invoke the Walt Whitman Defense: Do I contradict myself? Very well, then, I contradict myself. I contain multitudes! Or perhaps they don't see the contradiction, in which case they can invoke the Gilda Radner Defense: Never mind.
Perhaps the citizens of San Francisco and like-minded cities should defend sanctuary policies by appealing to their sincerely held religious beliefs, or even by quoting Scripture: "You are not to wrong or oppress an alien, because you were aliens in the land of Egypt." That seems to be the best way these days to secure exemption from laws with which you disagree; but somehow I don't think that will convince our double-talking brethren on the political Right.