I am writing to express my support of the mayors in Hudson County who have declared their cities sanctuary cities. It is my hope that they resist the pressure to cave in the face of potential loss of funding, and remain focused on the long-term benefits of this policy. While some believe that this stand is a misguided emotional decision, sacrificing the well-being of the county’s citizens for the protection of undocumented aliens, nothing could be further from the truth. This perception is the unfortunate result of messaging from the offices of the respective mayors framing the conversation in a humanitarian light, portraying the cities as the compassionate defenders of a victimized population.
This message is transparently false, as officials simultaneously argue that illegal immigrants undergird our local economy, which would grind to a halt without the cheap labor they provide. It is difficult to reconcile the purported concern with the wellbeing of undocumented immigrants, with the desire to exploit them for the benefit of legal residents. Such obvious political calculation has become intolerable for many Americans, and is, in this case, completely unnecessary. The fact is that beyond discounted labor, undocumented immigrants provide many other tangible benefits to our county, not the least of which is increased political power. This power does not stem from the mass voter fraud allegedly perpetrated by this group, but rather, the decennial census, the next of which will occur in 2020.
The results of this census will determine apportionment in the House of Representatives, meaning that if this census shows a marked increase in the New Jersey population, it will result in a greater number of representatives for the state of New Jersey. The census does not distinguish between citizens, permanent residents, or undocumented immigrants, all are counted. Thus, while they cannot vote, undocumented immigrants increase the power of their neighbors’ votes, simply by their presence. Ultimately, then, states and cities which stand fast in their commitment to remain “sanctuaries” will reap the political rewards in 2020.
This rebalancing would not only be advantageous for urban areas and liberal states, but necessary for the health of our democracy. The results of the recent presidential election illustrate the flaw in our current system which concentrates power in rural communities at the expense of the more numerous voices of the cities. The result, whereby the more unpopular and radical candidate received the presidency through geographical gamesmanship, should be avoided at all costs. A temporary loss of funding should be considered a worthy sacrifice for the reclamation of democracy and the advancement of progressive values.
America is increasingly diverse, increasingly liberal, and increasingly young, and yet, through gerrymandering and geographical advantage the older, whiter generation has had great success at suppressing the voice of the “coalition of the ascendant.” The “sanctuary city” response to such rural tyranny is long overdue, and should be pursued aggressively to ensure that 2020 produces a representative majority for the progressive majority in this country which has too long been marginalized.