Does the GOP Know About This?
Attention Republican candidates: sanctuary cities are popping up right on the borders of the nation’s capital!
Former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) accuses former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR), former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) of “sanctuary policies that led to less secure borders and more illegal immigration.” Giuliani, in turn, charges Romney with running a "sanctuary mansion." But do they know about Takoma Park and Mt. Rainier, MD?
Takoma Park is so connected to the capital that there is a Takoma Park, DC and a Takoma Park, MD. The latter, sometimes called "Granola Park," is known for having declared itself a "nuclear-free zone," the kind of place where the city council passed a resolution in support of impeaching the president and vice president. Mayor Bruce Williams says his being gay is no big deal. It’s no surprise that it has officially been a sanctuary city for immigrants since 1985, at the height of the Central American wars.
But Mt. Rainier? That’s a nearby town of 9,000 residents, just across the city limits of Washington, without a similar colorful history.
Mt. Rainier fronts a strip of highway that features old warehouses, evangelical churches that have bought other old warehouses, mechanical and automobile repair shops and fast-food outlets. The city has moved to convert the strip into a zone for artists and for nightlife. It is also now considering a directive to police officers and other city workers not to check into the immigration status of residents and not to report those without documents to federal immigration authorities.
Mt. Rainier apparently likes its varied immigrant population–the declaration was proposed by Councilman Pedro Briones, born in NYC and of Cuban and Ecuadoran descent–and sees no need to inquire as to their immigration status.
Other local jurisdictions are not so friendly, of course, especially in Virginia. But the trend could become worrisome for the Republicans: Arlington County is the first Virginia county south of the capital city, and the new Chairman of the County Board is Walter Tejada, an immigrant from El Salvador.