Friday night, when most people are coming home from work, sitting down for dinner, or embarking on plans for the weekend South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster was doing something else.
McMaster posted a cryptic comment on his Twitter feed about sanctuary cities.
“Stay tuned – Monday we unveil plans to beef up laws to prevent sanctuary cities in SC” McMaster tweeted just after 6 p.m.
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“Sanctuary cities” are cities that seek to reduce the threat of deportation by limiting their cooperation with federal authorities regarding immigration. Large cities such as New York, San Francisco and Philadelphia are sanctuary cities.
There were no follow up messages on Twitter, or in the form of a news release. Calls to the governor’s office went unanswered and there were no immediate responses to messages left.
What is known is that McMaster is a strong supporter of President Donald Trump, a fellow Republican, and that the Trump administration has stated it wants to crack down on sanctuary cities. Trump has tried to deny federal grants to cities and other local governments that don’t provide assistance to federal authorities in locating and detaining undocumented immigrants.
Trump attended and spoke at a fundraiser for McMaster in Greenville last Monday. In addition to publicly singing the praises of McMaster, who is part of a growing field of candidates running for governor, did the president ask – or tell – McMaster to initiate action in regards to sanctuary cities?
Is it possible McMaster will follow the lead of Texas lawmakers who adopted anti-sanctuary city legislation?
Without further word from McMaster, there’s no way of knowing what he has in mind, or where in South Carolina specifically he has in mind of preventing a sanctuary city from forming.
Another prominent Republican Palmetto State politician has already taken action in an effort to prevent sanctuary cities.
S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson has previously announced he seeks to ban sanctuary cities.
“I swore an oath to uphold the law when I took office and sanctuary cities scoff at the rule of law,” Wilson said in a Sept. 20 news release.
That same news release from the attorney general’s office said prohibiting sanctuary cities helps uphold federal immigration laws and provide law enforcement with additional and necessary tools to identify drug offenders who unlawfully enter the country.
During the summer, Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin went to Washington D.C. seeking a clear definition of what constitutes a sanctuary city.
“To this day, we still don’t have that clarity,” Benjamin, a Democrat, said in August. “When the administration is able to tell all of us exactly what it means to be a sanctuary city – if it means we’re going to treat people with dignity and respect, if it means we make sure our officers have the resources to do the job they’re supposed to be doing every day and taking those violent criminals off the street, we’re going to do that.
“But we need to make sure that we have some clarity from the administration that we have not received,” he said.
Columbia is not a sanctuary city, according to Benjamin.
Benjamin told The State’s Cindi Ross Scoppe in September that he is sympathetic to the sanctuary city movement, but Columbia, “follows all federal laws.”