I respond to the Sunday Dispatch editorial "Fight with Trump is a risk for the city." The opinion that Columbus risks federal funds by providing some legal support for immigrants and examining what it means to become a sanctuary city misses the mark on so many levels. 

First, the city’s actions to stand up for immigrants reflects our values as a welcoming community and is a pragmatic way to keep our city safe. That is because local law enforcement should target criminals, not undocumented immigrants. 

According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, undocumented immigrants are far less likely to commit crimes than people born in the United States. If the federal government wants to enhance its immigration-enforcement policy, that should be done through Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Every time Columbus diverts a police officer to be an immigration agent, we give a pass to homegrown criminals who are far more likely to commit crimes. 

Second, turning our back on immigrants will hurt our city’s growth and economic vitality. In 2015, the refugee community contributed $1.6 billion in economic output in the Franklin County area. And, in Columbus alone, there are 873 refugee-owned businesses. Central Ohio also has seen the largest influx of refugees in Ohio, according to a 2015 study on the impact of refugees in central Ohio. Ignoring this and marginalizing immigrants hurts our growth potential and undermines the economic gains city has made. 

Third, the editorial’s primary contention is that the city’s actions could put federal funds at risk. However, it misses the more objectionable and wholly unconstitutional notion that President Donald Trump would punitively withhold federal funds to a municipality for protecting its own interest. It suggests that this type of behavior from Trump is acceptable while ignoring the contributions of refugees and immigrants.

Janetta King
Innovation Ohio