Santa Fe Sanctuary City Status Harming Tourism and Real Estate

Santa Fe’s status as a sanctuary city may be having an unintended consequence that affects every resident. Mayor Javier Gonzales, who has been in office since 2014 insists that the majority of Santa Feans support his policy of making Santa Fe a sanctuary city for undocumented immigrants.

Santa Fe’s mayor is not alone in his stance against the many policies of newly elected President Donald Trump. Several members of the city council have publicly stated they are “thumbing their noses” in the face of the Administration’s policies on immigration.

This may not be sitting well with Santa Fe’s largely Texan tourist base. Sure, people from all over the country come to Santa Fe every year, it’s a tourist town with fantastic restaurants, art, history, music and culture. Compared to Albuquerque, Santa Fe is a cultural mecca in the middle of the desert.

If you spend any time in Santa Fe around the holidays, spring break or during the summer months you come to learn one thing. Texans LOVE, LOVE it here. Try to get into the parking lot of the ski area in March. It’s Texas license plates as far as the eye can see and no parking. Try to get a same day reservation at Geronimo or The Compound during the summer months? Forget it, the parking lots are filled with Texas license plates.

This is a good thing. Texans love Santa Fe. And that’s the part of the problem for mayor Javier Gonzales who has been at the heart of the Sanctuary City debate alongside the mayors of San Francisco and New York.

Getting back to Texan tourists for a minute. Clearly they represent one of the largest demographics that visit Santa Fe. Talk to any of the locals that work in industries related to tourism in Santa Fe and you’ll find that their numbers have dwindled in recent years. Many speculate this is due to the oil and gas industry struggling though rock-bottom oil prices. Makes sense, Texans with less disposable income travel less and may prioritize visiting Santa Fe against other destinations.

But what happens if you piss them off? Media outlets like Fox News may overestimate the unpopularity of sanctuary cities at 80% against across the country, but what about Texas? There are certainly pockets of liberalism worth noting in Texas but overwhelmingly Texas is a conservative, castle doctrine following state.

If 80 percent of Texans are against sanctuary cities will they spend their vacation dollars in a city like Santa Fe at the forefront of the sanctuary city debate? Will they continue to buy vacation homes in Santa Fe and the surrounding areas?

Again, talk to the locals in the tourism trade and talk to realtors. Texan visitors to Santa Fe are dwindling and it’s not a far stretch of the imagination to conclude that Santa Fe’s status as a sanctuary city is harming tourism.

Talk to realtors in Santa Fe. You’ll find houses, especially properties listed at a million dollars and higher simply aren’t selling. Unlike Albuquerque which has a scorching hot real estate market, Santa Fe’s outlook is chilling at best. Aside from one newly licensed and slightly delusional realtor at Sotheby’s Santa Fe who thinks she’s going to make her fortune selling million dollar houses, realtors that know the market have a grim outlook.

Texans, that traditionally have flocked to Santa Fe for vacations and second homes are dwindling in number and simply aren’t buying homes here. It doesn’t take much to connect the dots with Santa Fe’s frigid real estate market and dwindling tourism to the sanctuary city policy of Mayor Javier Gonzales.

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