It is clear that the Trump Administration is decidedly hostile to the idea of “#sanctuary cities,” in which individual communities shield #illegal aliens from federal authorities charged with enforcing #Immigration laws. However, if a Colorado State named Rep. Dave Williams has his way, supporting the policy would entail a personal, financial cost for politicians. Williams is offering a bill in the Colorado House that would allow American citizens who are victims of crimes perpetrated by illegal aliens in sanctuary cities to sue the politicians who enacted the policy. The bill is likely to die in the Colorado House, dominated by Democrats, but may have a better chance in the state Senate, according to Fox News. A similar bill is being advanced in the Virginia state Senate by state Sen. Richard H. Black.
One of the annoying aspects of policies such as sanctuary cities is that the government officials generally do not suffer the consequences. The effects tend to fall on ordinary people, such as Kate Steinle, who was murdered by an illegal alien at a pier in San Francisco. Bills that would deal with the problem by imposing mandatory minimal sentences have been blocked at the federal level. Laws such as those being advocated by Williams in Colorado and Black in Virginia could provide an incentive for officeholders to be careful about the effects of policies they support on ordinary people.
On the other hand, such bills would have to be passed by the very same politicians who would be affected by them. Having to deal with irate citizens who are exercising their first amendment rights of free speech is bad enough. Being dragged into civil court by people claiming that they’ve been harmed by a law or policy they supported would prove to be intolerable.
The principle could go beyond people who have been murdered or otherwise harmed by illegal aliens shielded by a local government. Imagine a small business suing a politician who supported, say, an increase in the minimum wage that drove it into bankruptcy? What about a taxpayer who believes that he or she had been harmed by an unfair tax code. The possibilities for holding politicians accountable would be endless and would have the salutary effect of making them think very carefully before supporting a law that might harm people.