LETTER: Council Would Overstep its Authority by Making the Town a Sanctuary City

Print More

Open Letter to Honorable Watertown Town Council President and Councilors,

I’m writing to weigh in, as a Watertown Citizen, Taxpayer, and Voter on any possible measure that would declare Watertown a Sanctuary City or in anyway and or any measure that uses the Watertown Town Council as a partisan vehicle to make statements about Federal Immigration Policy.

The Town Council is elected to govern Watertown. That being the case, its role is limited to municipal issues. While Public Safety and the actions of our Police Department fall within the purview of the Council’s authority, anything remotely connected for Federal Immigration Law or National Security is far beyond the scope of the Council’s Authority. Further passing proclamations, resolutions, or ordinances that make political statements, in order to appease partisan special interest groups, is nothing short of an abhorrent abuse of the Town Council’s time and the Town’s resources.

The Constitution is quite clear. Articles 1 and 2 give the Federal Government the authority to set immigration laws and policies. The Supremacy Clause (Article VI Clause 2) states:

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing [sic] in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

The current Federal Law makes it a felony for anyone to harbor or assist in harboring illegal aliens. Therefore, any local measure that would instruct our Police to NOT cooperate with Immigration Authorities, when they ask our Police to hold such an unlawful immigrant, would force the police to either disobey the local policy or commit a felony and face fines and imprisonment for up to 10 years.

Any feel-good non-binding measure that uses words like Sanctuary City or Welcoming City, with respect to illegal aliens, is nothing more than pandering to partisan lobby and I as I stated above is a grave misuse of the Council as platform of political motives. Just as important – it sends an invitation to illegal aliens who may not already live here, to move to Watertown. The mere use of such language is an invitation to those hiding from Immigration Officials because of other crimes to come seek refuge in Watertown.

The Police Chief has espoused a very reasonable possibly, whereby Watertown doesn’t actively seek out Illegal Aliens. However, if in the course of police business they happen to detain an illegal alien who is wanted by ICE, they obey the Federal Law. The policy is just. Our Police aren’t paid to be ICE Deputies. No one reasonable person expects them to become local deportation squads. But just as our police must hold anyone who has an outstanding warrant from another jurisdiction, for anything including unpaid moving violations, the police must hold anyone ICE is seeking for whatever reason, including deportation.

This praiseworthy policy is more than sufficient to appease any fear that Watertown Police will not be knocking on doors; looking for illegal aliens. And further action from the Council is simply an unwarranted partisan political statement, made by what is supposed to be a non-partisan governing body, charged with setting policies directly related to the daily administration of the Town.  The Watertown Town Council is elected and paid to govern Watertown. It’s not the Congress, nor the Supreme Court, nor Security Council of the United Nations. Therefore it should restrict its policy making activities, to things like paving streets, making sure our trash gets collected properly, seeing that our Town Departments have the proper resources to provide Watertown Taxpayers with the services we require.

John DiMascio
Copeland St.

4 thoughts on “LETTER: Council Would Overstep its Authority by Making the Town a Sanctuary City

  1. Finally someone that can use the words ILLEGAL alien…. If someone jumps over the fence in your back yard and comes into your home they aren’t an “undocumented guest”

    Thank you John!
    Well said.

  2. A thoughtful statement regarding the authority and boundaries of our town councilors, and the fair approach proclaimed by our police chief a few weeks ago regarding the handling of illegal aliens.

  3. Yes. We should follow the laws, but if they are found unjust by the majority then we work together to change them. Democracy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *