In an interview with CNN Thursday, Sen. Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton’s all-but-invisible running mate, said that Americans did not need to concern themselves with the imaginary problem of sanctuary cities.

“When Donald Trump kind of goes after these phantom sanctuary cities and talks about how bad they are, basically what he’s going after is police chiefs,” Kaine said. “And I trust police chiefs, in terms of knowing what should be done to keep their communities safer — and police departments and mayors a lot more than I trust Donald Trump.”

To his credit, host Chris Cuomo pushed back a little. “You know that there are places that refuse to cooperate with ICE and they have their assembly of different reasons for why they do it, but sanctuary cities are real. They exist. They’re not phantom,” he said.

Kaine went on to discuss how, in his days as governor of Virginia, certain cities would be deputized to act as local extensions of the federal immigration agency, ICE. He said that, in his experience, law enforcement agencies wanted nothing to do with that job and insisted that it made their work more challenging because illegal immigrants would no longer cooperate with authorities.

“If you turn police departments against immigrant communities, it makes the police less able to do their job to prevent crime,” Kaine said.

Fine. When has anyone suggested that we quadruple the amount of work for our police officers? No one’s talking about that. The problem with sanctuary cities is not that the cops aren’t out there scouring the streets, carding every Hispanic they come across. Kaine is creating a strawman just so he can knock it down and feel like a liberal hero.

The problem with sanctuary cities is what they do when they arrest someone and discover that they are here illegally as part of the booking process. Even at that stage, though, the problem isn’t that they aren’t calling ICE. The problem is that they have explicit rules in place preventing them from calling ICE. It’s not on the table, in many instances! That is the problem.

Under these circumstances, illegal immigrants with a taste for criminality flourish. That hurts the people of those cities, people visiting those cities, and people who live in the vicinity of those cities. And since there are hundreds of those cities in the country, it hurts the country as a whole.

But hey, if you don’t like our current immigration law and you think we should throw the border wide open, then of course sanctuary cities are just a “phantom” problem.

Keep pandering for those votes, fella.