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Steve Novotney Says ... "An Anonymous Sanctuary?"

One local media outlet has reported on this group of folks that has put a wish out on Facebook.

They want Wheeling to become a "sanctuary city." In fact, the Facebook event page states that they "demand" it.

Such cities are now situated in 33 states with California possessing the most, but West Virginia is not one of them. Officials in cities like Los Angeles, Denver, Philadelphia, and Baltimore have adopted "look the other way" policies that mandate NOT prosecuting immigrants who are in the United States illegally. The thing is, it is not "news" because the federal government has been practicing the same for many, many years.

Residents of Ohio County will recall that during the eight years Tom Burgoyne served as the sheriff, his deputies caught more than 100 illegal immigrants traveling through this area on the two interstates. But time and again the folks working for the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency asked just one question: "Do they have a criminal record?"

If the answer from Burgoyne was no, ICE told the sheriff to set them free. When Burgoyne, a retired special agent for the FBI, took issue with those decisions in a most public way, the ACLU demanded all of the arrest records involving such apprehensions. Burgoyne's response? Fine and dandy, but he informed the organization that it would cost 50 cents per page just as it does anyone else.

The ACLU then went away.

This new group, only identified as the Eclosion Collective, has planned a rally in the Friendly City, and even if some supporters report to the location, it's highly doubtful the group's "leaders" will step forward and be recognized because, at least in this area, no one has put a face with the defiance. Not even the newspaper article published this past weekend quotes a single individual. Instead, the report includes an explanation from a "spokesperson."

That's it.

I'm a big believer that immigration is what makes United States the powerhouse that it is, and I would not be here if my father's mother had not fled eastern Europe to get away from communism. Her parents were poor, and she believed that to be her destiny if she remained, so she traveled to America to chase her dreams and raise her family.

And that's what she did, and despite losing her husband when my father was only three, her story is about success. But along the way my grandmother learned English, endured the naturalization process, and became a citizen of the United States. She was always proud of that, too.

Now, I have zero issues with the First Amendment, and as most know, I exercise my freedom of speech in many ways every single day, and I believe in the right to stage rallies to make a statement. My problem with this one, though, is the anonymity. My approach is if you believe in something, stand up for it, and put your name on it, and I believe this group should do the same. If a local organizer wishes to come on the radio show and explain the group's demand, I would be more than welcoming to such a guest and conversation. Such a broadcast might attract more like-minded folks in this area to the rally.

But remaining faceless coupled with making such a demand, in my opinion, provokes a menacing feel about this event, and that is not how one gets serious consideration from those who would contemplate such a decision. In fact, it allows decision makers to ignore it and for public conversations to turn negative.

The radio show is from 2-5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and I can be reached by sending an e-mail to novotney@wkkx.com. I hope to hear from you.

Categories: Commentary