PERRY: Fighting fear with fear — Aurora lawmakers lose it over sanctuary city tag

March 29, 2017 GMT

What the hell was that about?

Aurora’s city council called a special meeting this week to discuss the complicated and serious implications of being tabbed a sanctuary city, an event that ended up being some kind of political kabuki show.

The bizarre drama that played out for over an hour at city hall Monday night raises one question above all: Who was this elaborate show intended to entertain?

Not me. Not the dozens of protesters who showed up because city lawmakers didn’t see any value in listening to the public. Constituents were barred from voicing their opinion as to what Aurora should do about the Trump Administration and others claiming that Aurora is a sanctuary city.


That is a term made up by xenophobes and bigots to call out communities that have pushed back against the crazy anti-immigrant antics of people like Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio and cities anxious to round up illegal immigrants and bus them over the border.

Aurora, like many other cities, realized that tough talk against illegal immigration brings nothing but trouble, so the city somehow started wearing this tag a few years ago.

The people and groups who whipped “sanctuary cities” into the immigration lexicon were just as interested in pushing against any Americans with dark skin and broken English, not just those without Green Cards.

For years, Aurora pretty much ignored the banter, but that was before President Trump.

Just days after his shocking election, Aurora’s police chief and mayor spoke up to remind Aurora that local cops here are not immigration police. Police Chief Nick Metz was crystal clear: Police do not in their routine role ask people about their citizenship. If you’re a witness to a crime, the cops will not turn Gestapo and demand to see “pay-pers, pleeeeze.”

Aurora, like Denver, has a large population of illegal immigrants. Some came here as babies. Some have lived here for decades. They come from all over the world, not just Mexico. So if the word gets out that local police will drag you to the ICE prison if they find out you’ve overstayed your visa, you’re going to avoid the cops at all costs. That means leaving the scene of a traffic accident, leaving the scene of a crime you didn’t commit, and becoming a likely crime victim yourself by unscrupulous types that know they can do what they want to you, because you won’t call the cops.


The philosophy is just common sense. Making that philosophy widely known is common sense. Common sense went out the window at city hall Monday night.

The city was expecting that lawmakers would solicit comment from staff, experts and the public about the issues of illegal immigration and a federal administration that has become a comedy of errors.

There were no experts, no public comment, and virtually no discussion.

Instead, city staffer after staffer pretty much tap-danced around the city’s previous position on being a sanctuary city, which isn’t a sanctuary city.

It was embarrassing. Eleven grown men and women trying to send a message to President Trump or Tea Party officials or each other or I don’t know whom, that we don’t want no trouble here in Aurora. We aren’t a sanctuary city and we don’t even know what that crap is. We enforce the law and please don’t take our federal block grants away.

It was weird. I hope lawmakers don’t actually think that anyone in Washington, especially at the White House, is paying one damned bit of attention to shows like this one. They’re not. If this entire charade at trying to figure out how to deal with illegal immigration in a country that can’t agree on how to deal with it was to produce something for city lawyers to use when the checks quit coming, well, that’s just as lame as the goofballs in Washington making all this crap up as they go along.

The most embarrassing moment came from an agreement to draft a resolution that says, Aurora is not, nope, ain’t never been, never will be, ever-never a sanctuary city, but we are a “welcoming” city.

No. We are cowards.

If my mom was an illegal immigrant, I would not be feeling very welcome after that crap. I’d be feeling that the tide is turning here in Aurora, and either city officials are now afraid of the federal government, and I should be, too, or that some city residents are more welcome than others.

It’s one thing to flat out admit that we might turn a blind eye to Trump’s bullies throwing their political weight around Aurora, but it’s entirely another thing to pander to that mentality by putting on some kind of peculiar act for the likes of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Hell, yes, we’re a sanctuary city — if by sanctuary you mean that we, as a community will stand up against illegal, unwarranted and inhumane tyranny against any person who lives or visits here.

Guilty as charged, Mr. President. We will not allow federal goons to overstep their Constitutional bounds and run roughshod through the nation. We will resist. And we will persist. And we will do it no matter what a bunch of bullied council reps say to the contrary.

History has been unequivocal in illustrating that those willing to sell out their neighbors to a tyrant, always, always become victims of that tyranny themselves.

Buck up. Demand comprehensive immigration reform based on common sense and human dignity. Send a message to everyone who lives here that, in Aurora, you don’t have to be afraid, even if it turns out your city leaders are just that.

Follow @EditorDavePerry on Twitter and Facebook or reach him at 303-750-7555 or dperry@aurorasentinel.com.