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Opinion Trump’s plan to punish ‘sanctuary cities’

Supporters of a proposal to make Howard County a sanctuary on Feb. 6, 2017, in Ellicott City.
Supporters of a proposal to make Howard County a sanctuary on Feb. 6, 2017, in Ellicott City. (Katherine Frey/The Washington Post)
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The Trump administration, according to the April 13 front-page article “Trump avows ‘sanctuary city’ release proposal,” proposed releasing immigrants currently held at the southern border into so-called sanctuary cities, clearly intending to punish these cities for supporting immigrants.

In Lincoln, Neb., this sounds like a good idea, not punishment. Although Lincoln is not a sanctuary city, we have for years welcomed refugees seeking asylum from brutal conditions in their home countries, as well as immigrants seeking better lives for their families and children.

Among our population of 280,000, we proudly count people from Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, South America and Central America. The largest community of Yazidis in the country resides here. Our school system serves some 3,000 English-language learner students representing 150 countries and 125 languages.

Churches, civic groups, schools, city government and individuals and families have offered these immigrants assistance in learning English, finding homes and jobs and establishing connections.

And as we have helped refugees and immigrants heal old wounds and forge new lives, Lincoln has gained from their presence. We have received a vibrant infusion of people who value freedom, hard work and community. Their labor fuels our industries. Their businesses bolster our economy. Their churches, mosques and temples join ours in matters of faith and community service. Their children enliven and enrich our schools. Their cultures broaden and deepen our own.

So, yes, President Trump, send us those tired, poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free. We welcome them.

Roger Holmes, Lincoln, Neb.

Seattle is a sanctuary city, and Mayor Jenny A. Durkan affirmed in her April 13 op-ed, “Here in Seattle, we’re not afraid of immigrants,” that Seattle intends to welcome all immigrants and refugees: “So if this president wants to send immigrants and refugees to Seattle and other welcoming cities . . . we will do what we have always done and we will be stronger for it.” Many readers might be confused as to why Democrats are outraged with President Trump’s proposal to send immigrants to sanctuary cities. According to border officials, there is insufficient housing for immigrants now entering the United States. Doesn’t it make sense to transport these immigrants to cities that will welcome them? This is especially true of illegal immigrants whose ability to remain in the United States would be jeopardized unless they settle in a sanctuary city that will protect them from deportation. 

We are all aware of Mr. Trump’s negative attitude toward illegal immigrants; however, dislike for Mr. Trump doesn’t mean that Mr. Trump’s policy proposal is wrong. Sanctuary cities can help to solve the problem at the border by helping to resettle these immigrants into their cities.

Henry Scott, Potomac

It is clear the Trump administration does not see human beings lining up at our borders. It sees them as something to be rounded up and moved out, now as punishment for sanctuary cities’ defiance of the administration’s zero-tolerance policy. Using resettlement of struggling people as a threat to these open communities shows an underestimation of the people in those cities and a lack of respect for the humanity of the Central Americans.

Mary McComb, Washington

The idea to punish sanctuary cities by sending immigrants to them is one more vengeful idea coming from a small-minded administration. The United States is not “full.” Instead of sending immigrants to cities, why not support them to create economies in states that are underpopulated? Alaska, Wyoming, Montana, North and South Dakota, New Mexico, Idaho, Nebraska, Nevada and Kansas are the 10 lowest-density states. Or, perhaps the immigrants should be equally shared based on Senate representation so that Wyoming gets as many as California. 

Immigrants are a labor resource if they are appropriately supported and integrated into the economy. If it weren’t for our immigrant population, the United States’ population would be shrinking. It doesn’t make much sense to create a policy that takes all the migrants to a few already crowded cities where affordable housing is in short supply.

Deborah Schumann, Bethesda

President Trump is wrong when he says the United States is “full” and can’t take more refugees or immigrants. According to the World Population Review, the United States, with 13 people per square mile, ranks 175th in population density out of 230 countries surveyed. This compares with the United Kingdom (106 people per square mile), Japan (130) and Israel (157). The Chinese island of Macau tops the list with 8,139 people per square mile, followed closely by Monaco (7,435).

The United States has plenty of room for refugees and immigrants.

Gary Jacobsen, Woodbridge