It’s official. On Tuesday, a federal appeals court ruled in a 3-0 vote that states may punish cities that harbor illegal immigrants, as well as force local law enforcement to turn over any illegal immigrants to ICE for deportation.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott tweeted about the court’s ruling on Tuesday, stating that the “law is in effect.”

According to the Washington Times, the law also allows punishment for local political officials and law enforcement leaders who carry out pro-sanctuary city policies.

Sanctuary city advocates argued that such a law would breach the 4th Amendment rights of illegal immigrants. Judge Edith H. Jones, however, wrote in the court’s opinion that it’s not exactly clear if non-citizens enjoy the same rights as citizens.

For one, it’s odd that it’s suggested by illegal immigrant advocates that they should enjoy the same rights legal citizens do. They are citizens of another country, and thus don’t qualify for all the benefits and rights extended to Americans. Stepping foot on our soil should not reward the individual with all the good stuff America offers its citizens, especially when that person doesn’t have to pay taxes.

But I’d also like to raise the point that the idea of sanctuary cities has muddied the waters in terms of how we view illegal immigrants. It’s understandable to feel pity or empathy toward someone who wants to escape from their 3rd world hell in favor of something better. But they are still illegal immigrants. By default, being here illegally makes them criminals whether they’re the worst of sinners or the best of saints.

The law has to be enforced because without laws that govern the system, there is no system. Frankly, it’s that system that has made this country so attractive, and if they want to be a part of it, then they must go through the process so many others have, too.