Collins of the Times: 'Sanctuary City' Sounds Sort of Nice

Last week, I described Gail Collins' condescension to what she sees as the bumpkins of Middle America. The New York Times columnist is back at it again this morning, suggesting that illegal immigration is not so much a problem as an issue exploited by Republican candidates to stir the passions of gullible Republican rubes. And yes, to Collins' ear, "sanctuary city" has a nice ring.

The jumping-off point for Collins' [p.p.v.] Of Mitt, Monks, and Mowers is the criticism Mitt Romney has levelled at Rudy Giuliani for the latter's embrace of New York's status as a sanctuary city for illegal immigrants when he was Big Apple mayor. Note that Rudy has since toughened his stance, vowing to end illegal immigration.

In Collins' eyes, telling police and others to ignore the fact that people they encounter in the course of their duties are in the country illegally is "a perfectly rational position."

According to Collins:

If you’ve got hundreds of thousands of undocumented people living in your town, you want them to be willing to report crimes, to go to a doctor if they have a communicable disease, to keep their kids in school and off the street.

Guess what? If police and others were told to report illegals, maybe you wouldn't have "hundreds of thousands" of illegals in your city, with more coming every day knowing there'll be no questions asked.

But for Collins:

“Sanctuary city” is the new “amnesty” — a right-wing buzzword aimed at freaking out the red state voters. There is, of course, the small side effect of making it utterly impossible to have a rational policy-making discussion about a critical national issue. But what the heck. We’re talking Iowa.

What is it with Collins and Iowa? Last week Hawkeye Staters were a bunch of hicks gorging themselves on anything within deep-frying reach. Today they're [to quote Rush] mind-numbed robots, prey to manipulation by cynical politicians. Yeah, why can't Iowans be discerning voters, say like the ones in New York State who elected Eliot Spitzer to clean up government -- by using the state police to spy on political rivals?

Then, in what she admits to being a "cheap shot," Collins, ever the environmentalist, recycles the story of Mitt Romney's contract with a landscaping company that employed illegals. Except that Collins utterly misrepresented the situation, claiming that Romney "hire[d] illegal immigrants." So if the dishwasher in the next fancy restaurant where Collins dines is illegal, she's hired him, too?

Then there's this:

There’s nothing wrong with being worried about the nation’s porous borders, violent criminals who manage to avoid deportation and the massive number of undocumented people living here without any ties to the community. We should have this discussion. Like it or not, we’ve got 14 months of presidential campaign to go. Nobody on the voter side wants to spend it listening to politicians shriek meaningless catchphrases.

Translation: Like all good liberals, I don't really care about this issue. But I suppose you redneck nativists have my permission to care -- just not too much. We can have a "discussion." Say, maybe someone can organize a teach-in on campus. I have a friend at La Raza who can speak!

Concludes Collins:

By the way, doesn’t the term “sanctuary city” sound sort of nice, actually? Remember all those sci-fi movies where the heroes were stuck in a terrible world where everybody but them was a mutant or a pod person or a hologram and their only hope was to reach a legendary and possibly mythical refuge? Next time you hear a politician ranting about a “sanctuary city,” say: “Wasn’t that where Keanu Reeves was trying to get in “The Matrix?”

Note that by her analogy, Collins casts the legal citizens of the United States as the mutants and pod persons, while the illegals are the "heroes." Sums up the liberal position nicely.

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.