The Cities of Refuge, in biblical times, were cities mandated by God to be set aside as refuge for those who caused unintentional deaths where they would be safe from an ‘avenger’ (usually a family member) until the case could be tried. These cities were part of the promised land distributed to the twelve tribes of Israel. Six cities were designated as cities of refuge: on one side of the Jordan River – Kedesh, in Galilee in the mountains of Naphtali; Shechem, in the mountains of Ephraim, and Hebron (Kirjath Arba) in the mountains of Judah. On the other side of the Jordan River – Bezer in the wilderness of the plain, from the tribe of Reuben; Ramoth in Gilead from the tribe of Gad and Golan in Bashan from the tribe of Manasseh. These cities were not intended for those who had committed murder per their Mosaic Law.
The Levites, who were not granted any territorial domain were determined to be the most suitable judges since they had nothing to gain and would likely be most impartial. If the congregation found that the accused had acted unintentionally he was to live safely in the city of refuge until the death of the high priest who was in office at the time of his trial at which time he could then return to his own property. The ‘down side’ to this is if the accused (attacker) left the city of refuge before the death of the high priest, the ‘avenger’ would have the right to kill him.
You are probably wondering where in the heck I am going with this?
Today, in this modern world, we don’t call them ‘cities of refuge’ – we call them ‘Sanctuary Cities’ – same idea, well-intentioned but totally contrary to duly passed, existing law . Kind of makes me chuckle because we have so many people who refuse to acknowledge the Bible and God and yet, this system is based on the Bible. But, I digress….
According to a 2016 report by the Center for Immigration Studies, we have approximately 300 ‘jurisdictions that have a policy that is non-cooperative and obstructs immigration enforcement – a far cry from those cities of old. Today, our sanctuary cities are proud to boast that they harber illegal immigrants, murderers, drug dealers, you-name-it and these cities refuse to work with law enforcement to bring about law and order; AND, the sad part is that some religious institutions take this same stance. They will not cooperate with federal law enforcement agencies and continue to harbor these people even though they may be repeat offenders. The report states, “These cities, counties, and states have laws, ordinances, regulations, resolutions, policies, or other practices that obstruct immigration enforcement and shield criminals from ICE – either by refusing to or prohibiting agencies from complying with ICE detainers, imposing unreasonable conditions on detainer acceptance, denying ICE access to interview incarcerated aliens, or otherwise impeding communication or information exchanges between their personnel and federal immigration officers.” Additionally, the report states, “The Center for Immigration Studies has tracked the movement, repeatedly spoken out against it, and watched as it has grown under the policies of the Obama White House, whose aims have more closely mirrored those of open borders advocaes than those of an administration constitutionally charged with faithfully executing the laws of the United States.”
The report goes on to state that, “much of the sanctuary movement seems to be centered on shielding from federal action deportable alins who have been arrested and charged with various crimes…..other jurisdictions have more expansive policies aimed at shielding some or all illegal aliens, including the so-called Dreamers and their families, from enforcement action.”
Among the several ‘arguments’ made by sanctuary city advocates is that ‘states are sovereign entities that have the right to make their own decisions on immigration.’ This is an erroneous position because while the 10th Amendment states that, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reservd to the States respectively, or to the people” – in Article I, Section 8, it creates the authority of Congress “To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalizaion”. We have an immigration law that Congress has created which applies to naturalization and immigration. Any way you slice it, these sanctuary cities are violating our laws and so is every politician who has taken an oath to uphold the duly passed laws of the United States of America.
To his credit and the dismay of many on the left (as well as some on the right), our newly elected President Trump has taken the first step in protecting this country from further unbridled illegal immigration by closing the doors to this country, temporarily, until some semblance of order can restored. That is not a bad thing. He has also made it clear that sanctuary cities that skirt our laws will suffer the consequences. While some like to say, ‘we are a nation of immigrants’, I like to say yes, but mine came here legally and so should everyone else if they want to live here. We don’t need sanctuary cities – but we do need to restore law and order and respect for this country.
We need – no, we must hold our elected officials in every state, county, city and town responsible to honor the oath of office he/she has taken. They will not do it unless we make them uncomfortable. Our former president liked to say he had a pen and a phone….you know what – so do we!