The stage is set for the final act in the decades-long Shakespearean drama of the undocumented, a drama that has filled the air with hypocrisy and perfidy most foul.
Example: President Obama made disapproving clucking sounds about "sanctuary cities" but never lifted a finger or an eyebrow to stop them from flouting immigration law. In contrast, he sicced the Justice Department on Arizona for enforcing federal immigration law.
Example: Mayor Kenney dives into the desperation grab bag to say the Fourth Amendment compels him to release foreign felons but has zipped lips on the immigration law they have broken.
The curtain on the final act was raised Jan. 20 with the election of a president who had made sanctuary cities a signature issue of his candidacy.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions last week put sanctuary cities on notice that they face possible loss of federal funds if they fail to cooperate with the feds.
"Cooperate" does not mean using local cops to crash through doors and arrest the undocumented. It means giving Immigration and Customs Enforcement access to those already in custody, most especially convicted felons.
An honest conversation must begin with a simple foundational fact.
No foreigner has a "right" to be in the United States without permission. The undocumented don't earn a "home free" pass once they arrive here, despite what Kenney thinks. When he, Council President Darrell Clarke, and others say they "welcome" illegal immigrants, they are "welcoming" lawbreakers. What is wrong with them?
Call it Nullification Lite as political Sanctuary Softheads actively, deliberately break the law.
That happened in the South during Jim Crow, when some governors actively, deliberately broke the law by refusing to integrate public schools. The federal government responded by sending the 101st Airborne to Little Rock's Central High School and U.S. marshals to Ole Miss.
Can you imagine President Trump sending the 101st to surround City Hall?
Be still, my foolish heart.
Since Trump became president, ICE is more active, targeting all undocumented people, not just criminals, I was told by Philadelphia acting field office director Jennifer Ritchey. That is a broadening of previous policy.
The government says the 300 or so sanctuary municipalities are in violation of law. Just last week, after meeting with Homeland Security Chief John Kelly, members of the U.S. Conference of Mayors said sanctuary cities are not in violation. (Progressive politicians have contempt for any law that doesn't jibe with their globalist Open Borders beliefs.)
Shielding the undocumented is either legal or it is not. The courts will have to end the drama -- and while they're at it settle the question of whether federal funding can be cut off. Even that is an alternative fact to some.
While all this is roiling, most Americans oppose sanctuary cities.
A 2015 Rasmussen Report national poll said 62 percent of likely voters thought the Justice Department should go after sanctuary cities, with 58 percent wanting funding to be cut off.
One year later, in a poll of Philadelphians, Pew Research said 58 percent agreed with Kenney's sanctuary policy.
Last month the Harvard-Harris Poll reported 80 percent of American voters want local authorities to cooperate with the feds.
Philadelphians are out of step. Would they change their minds if they knew the city releases convicted foreign felons back onto the streets? It does. It has.
That's one reason the Fraternal Order of Police doesn't like sanctuary cities. "We are sworn as police officers to uphold the law. If you don't belong here, you've got to go. It's as simple as that," FOP president John McNesby told me.
But it is not that simple, because "each city gets its marching orders from political leaders and we have to follow orders," he says, even when they don't like them.
I think Trump will slash funding to sanctuary cities, some of which will go to court to prevent, in essence, the feds from enforcing federal law.
Good. Let's get it on and put the question to rest.