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Donald Trump undeniably dislikes immigrants. He has signed an executive order that would ban immigrants from seven (later revised to six) majority-Muslim nations, used nearly every minority group in America as a scapegoat, and built an entire presidential campaign on constructing a border wall between the United States and Mexico to keep the “bad hombres” out. Despite his discomfort with immigrants, he is very comfortable exploiting them to advance his political agenda. Luckily, there exist places in the U.S. where illegal immigrants can feel protected from the threat of deportation.

Sanctuary cities are havens for illegal immigrants, and despite Republican rhetoric, sanctuary cities are universally beneficial, regardless of citizenship status. An illegal immigrant in a safer community is more willing to purchase products, stimulating the economy, to pay for health care, benefitting themselves and their families, and to report crimes to the local police, making the community safer for everyone.

Still, Trump and the GOP continue to ignore the clear advantages of sanctuary cities and attack their philosophy. Trump has consistently linked immigrants and crime—a correlation shown untrue in many studies including one by Justice Quarterly. He has even accused millions of illegal immigrants of voting illegally in the 2016 election, a claim with no factual basis. The fact is, illegal immigrants benefit our country—they pay taxes to the government, pay into Social Security and Medicaid, create jobs as entrepreneurs, and fill jobs that American-born citizens simply don’t want.

The benefits of a safer community and economic prosperity are clear, while Republican arguments linking immigrants to crime and danger are flimsy and biased at best. And yet Trump and his administration continue to threaten to deny sanctuary cities federal funding, despite the clear evidence that these cities are effective. If the GOP truly cared about lowering crime rates and building safer communities, they would encourage the sanctuary city doctrine rather than fight it.

There is a larger question to be asked here. Republicans and Democrats can continue to argue about sanctuary cities, but collectively the United States must decide whether it wants to be a sanctuary country. Members of Congress on both sides of the partisan aisle love to call the U.S. a “melting pot,” but when it comes to welcoming immigrants, we shut them out and deport those already here.

We must choose to be a society in which immigrants do not live in constant fear of deportation and in which a Republican Congress is not looking to score political points by tearing their families apart. As a nation, we must decide to build roads that lead others into the United States rather than to build walls that exclude them and their desire for a better life.