Thursday, March 16, 2017
Start your own‘undergroundrailroad’

To the editor:

Technically, yes, petition article 9 as currently worded does not explicitly ask voters to approve “sanctuary city status” for Peterborough. But it has exactly the same effect. It states “…employees… shall not inquire about, report, or act upon any person’s immigration status under any circumstances while performing their duties.” This would put town employees directly at risk of violating federal law. Illegal articles, even though passed by the town, cannot be binding.

Research does not show that all sanctuary cities are safer. Louisiana attorney general Jeff Landry was quoted recently: “…another sanctuary city, Los Angeles saw all crime rise in 2015: violent crime up 19.9 percent, homicides up 10.2 percent, shooting victims up 12.6 percent, rapes up 8.6 percent, robberies up 12.3 percent, and aggravated assault up 27.5 percent….” We do not expect this to happen here, but the town must weigh all possible outcomes.

Attempting to turn funding concerns into a states’ rights issue is a straw-man argument. We do not want the town to become embroiled in a “states’ rights” legal case. You cannot put a cost estimate on that. Nationally, the cost of illegal aliens in our country is not cheap: “FAIR’s report says $113 billion represents the total cost at the federal, state and local levels for undocumented immigrants. The vast majority — $84 billion — is paid by state and local governments.” What would be the cost of just three families of four for one year? How much would need to be paid for at the local level?

We have a better idea: Do not involve the town at all. Start your own version of an underground railroad. The petitioners can absorb all the costs, all the risks and leave the rest of us out of it.

Debra Sidebottom,
Rick Villaume