SANTA FE – Mayor Javier Gonzales went national with his defense of immigrant “sanctuary cities” like Santa Fe on Megyn Kelly’s Fox News show on Tuesday night.
Gonzales rejected “false realities” portraying sanctuary cities as having more crime. He said his city has experienced no crime increase since adopting immigrant-friendly policies – including that police don’t ask about immigration status when making an arrest or otherwise dealing with the public – in 1999.
The interview on “The Kelly File” got off to an awkward start when the host introduced Gonzales as mayor of “Santa Fe, California.” Gonzales quickly corrected Kelly, and she said it had been a busy day.
The sanctuary city issue has returned as a hot topic since election day because president-elect Donald J. Trump previously released a governance “vision” that called for canceling all federal funding for sanctuary cities. On Monday, Gonzales issued a statement affirming that Santa Fe won’t back down from its immigrant-friendly stance. Santa Fe gets about $6.1 million, or 2 percent of its budget, from the feds, a city spokesman said Tuesday.
Asked by Kelly about the potential loss of funds, Gonzales said the “broken” immigration system needs to be fixed, and that it’s “wrong to penalize cities that have been welcoming in creating opportunities for all citizens regardless of where they come from.”
Kelly said “the beef” is that in “far too many cases” undocumented immigrants commit violent crimes in sanctuary cities. Gonzales responded that Santa Fe goes after people who commit violent crimes, “irregardless of their status,” and that the “number one priority” is keeping the community safe.
What about the argument that sanctuary policies make cities a magnet for undocumented criminals, Kelly asked. That’s “an argument in false realities,” Gonzales responded, saying “study after study” has shown the policies don’t lead to more crime. “People who are living in our communities peacefully, lawfully want to do so to achieve the American dream,” he said. Gonzales took the same position when asked about high-profile murders committed by undocumented immigrants in sanctuary cities.
“People are coming out of the shadows, they’re participating in our community, they’re sharing information with law enforcement because these families want to make sure they’re living in a safe environment,” he said.