So let me get this straight: America is thrown into an overwrought political debate about the Confederate battle flag—a relic that has absolutely nothing to do with the shooting in Charleston—but is unwilling to engage in a conversation about the deliberate disregard of federal law that directly leads to the murder of at least one young woman?
That’s basically where we stand. After sending mixed signals, The Hill reports that Democrats will be making a concerted effort to defend San Francisco’s sanctuary laws and killing of Kathryn Steinle along the city’s famous waterfront. Most Republicans will avoid the matter altogether for the sake of political expediency. Soon enough, I imagine, it’ll be xenophobic to bring it up at all. One of these conversations, after all, is risk-free, jammed with self-satisfying preening about the right sort of evils. The other, morally complex—especially for the supporters of immigration reform (like myself)—and fraught with electoral consequences.
But let’s set aside immigration politics for a moment and consider a detail that’s often lost in this debate: Fact is, some people in America are free to ignore laws they don’t like, while others are not. Hundreds of jurisdictions nullify federal immigration law, not because they question the constitutionality of law, but because they find those laws ideologically problematic and immoral. And when I say “some” jurisdictions, I mean entirely liberal ones.