While Minneapolis passed a sanctuary city ordinance years before Donald Trump was elected president, it is being used now by local officials and mayoral candidates in retaliation against Trump for his bigoted immigration remarks.

Unfortunately, what is intended as a thumb in Trump’s eye is actually a hand in the taxpayers’ pocketbook or even a gun to the head.


Not noted for his benign responses to what he perceives as insults, Trump is likely to respond to enforcement of sanctuary cities by eliminating millions of dollars of federal grants to Minneapolis, a city that gave an overwhelming majority of its votes — 80 percent — to Hillary Clinton in the presidential election. As a result, programs of far more importance to the city, such as more police and police training, efforts to improve community-police relations on the North Side and work to eliminate income inequality and discrimination, either may have to be trimmed or will require increased taxpayer funding.

And what is there about sanctuary cities that is worth this sacrifice? The first and primary obligation of local government is the protection of its residents. Sanctuary cities stands this proposition on its head, protecting illegal immigrants by restricting the ability of local police to cooperate with the federal government in enforcing immigration laws. The city’s show of defiance to the feds is mostly just that, a show of defiance, but the consequences could be far more serious.

Sanctuary cities are hideout cities. Why discriminate and stop with protecting illegal immigrants? How about a little love for our local lawbreakers? They need hideouts, too.

That there have been fatal consequences is undeniable. In San Francisco, another sanctuary city, a young woman and resident, Kate Steinle, was murdered as she took a walk with her father. An illegal immigrant with a lengthy criminal record has been arrested for the crime. He had been arrested before the incident on another charge, but was released by the locals while a federal warrant was outstanding because the locals, abiding by sanctuary cities standards, did not retain prisoners on the basis of federal charges.

There is no justification for putting ourselves and our families at risk for this foolish policy. Let’s put partisan politics aside. Let’s put an end to sanctuary cities before innocent people get hurt.

Dan Cohen lives in Minneapolis.