At its very essence, “The first duty of government is the protection of life, not its destruction. Abandon that, and you have abandoned all”, wrote Thomas Jefferson.
When the government not only fails to protect its citizens, but enables those who are here illegally to murder them, it can no longer be called a government. When 32-year-old Kate Steinle was murdered two weeks ago in the sanctuary city of San Francisco by illegal alien and multi-felon Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, people immediately began to ask how this could happen. How could a criminal, whose history includes seven felonies along with five deportations, slip through the grasps of federal immigration officials who had him in custody only fourth months ago?
According to a report in the San Francisco Gate, the answer to this is simple. San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi requested custody of Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez as he was completing a 46-month stint in federal prison in March in San Bernardino County. Lopez-Sanchez arrived in San Francisco on March 26, in which he spent the next three weeks in jail as sheriff’s deputies sought clarification from the department’s legal division on whether to hold Lopez-Sanchez so Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials could pick him up for possible deportation. ICE had requested that the city detain Lopez-Sanchez. In the end, the legal division told deputies they had no basis to hold Lopez-Sanchez, and he was released April 15. Two and a half months later he would go on to murder Kate Steinle.
When Sheriff Mirkarimi announced in a news release last year that his department “will no longer honor U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainers unless they are supported by judicial determination of probable cause” or an arrest warrant, he failed to protect his citizens. Then, when he issued a memo March 13 stating that his staff was barred from giving immigration agents “information or access” to records about detainees including their citizenship status, their booking and arrest documents, and their release dates, he enabled Lopez-Sanchez to murder Kate Steinle. More specifically, what enabled the death of Steinle was the fact that San Francisco has adopted the “sanctuary city” policy which effectively protects criminal illegal aliens from deportation by refusing to comply with ICE detainers.
These detainers serve as “the primary tool used by ICE to take custody of criminal aliens for deportation”, writes Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies. It is a notice to another law enforcement agency that ICE intends to assume custody of an alien, and it includes information on the alien’s previous criminal history, immigration violations, and potential risk to public safety or security. When cities such as San Francisco defy detainers by refusing to share information with federal officials under the pretenses of being a “sanctuary city”, they put their own citizens lives in jeopardy.
This isn’t an issue solely for San Francisco either as Vaughan describes in a new report that as of “last year, there were 276 state and local jurisdictions that had adopted policies of non-compliance with some or all ICE detainers. These policies took the form of laws, executive orders, or regulations. These jurisdictions were located in 43 states and the District of Columbia.” The CIS report goes on to note that state and local sanctuary policies caused the release of more than 9,000 criminal alien offenders sought by ICE for deportation in 276 jurisdictions around the country over an eight-month period. What is critical to understand is that of the 9,000 criminal illegal aliens freed by local authorities, sixty-three percent had prior criminal histories or were labeled a public safety concern at the time of their release. The report concludes by noting as of June 2015, the total number of detainers rejected by local sanctuary jurisdictions has grown to more than 17,000.
The reason that sanctuary cities have grown so prevalent is directly attributed to the Obama administration and its failure to not only faithfully uphold the law as it exists, but to rewrite it. While the blame should indeed be placed on governors, mayors, and state and local law enforcement officials around the country who defy ICE in sanctuary cities, it is important to note that these “sanctuaries” came about because of Obama’s directive that ended the successful Secure Communities Program by replacing it with the Priority Enforcement Program.
Jessica Vaughan explains that the Priority Enforcement Program “explicitly allows local agencies to disregard ICE notifications of deportable aliens in their custody by replacing detainers with ‘requests for notification’.” Meaning, local agencies can seemingly ignore ICE as they are now in a position to judge who is and isn’t considered an illegal alien “priority”, regardless of their past or current criminal record.
The effect of this new policy is literally costing Americans their lives. Whether it be the death of Kate Steinle in the sanctuary city of San Francisco at the hands of her shooter Juan Lopez-Sanchez; or the gruesome slaying of Maria Cruiz-Calvillo and her 3 year old son Luis, whom was burned alive, in the sanctuary city of Columbia at the hands of previously deported illegal alien Prudencio Ramirez; or the deaths of Jamie Oxendine, his wife, and his son in the sanctuary city of Hoke County in North Carolina at the hands of a drunk driver and illegal alien Rodolfo Marin Vela. All died because the government failed to protect them while it protected their killers. And these instances are not isolated, they’re becoming the norm even as the government downplays the threat they have created.
For example, in a report released last month by Jeremy Redmon of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Redmon notes that “ICE authorities based in Atlanta are hunting 27,790 fugitives in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. Of those, 8,647 have criminal convictions, ranging from minor drug offenses to robbery, rape and murder.” If any one of these fugitives can make it to a sanctuary city they will be protected from federal law enforcement. Thus, giving these criminals the ability to virtually roam free throughout our country without consequence leaving Americans vulnerable. Remember this when you hear the president say that our immigration system is “broken”. It isn’t broken, if the laws were enforced by the government and sanctuary cities were de-funded for breaking federal law, those like Kate Steinle would be alive. It isn’t a stretch to say that but for the president’s actions, numerous Americans would still be alive today.
In the words of Dan Golvach, whose son was shot in the head by an illegal alien (who had been deported four times with a violent criminal record), “It’s the government that did this. It’s cherry picking laws because you’re trying to import votes or you’re trying to import cheap labor, it doesn’t matter, the laws are being cherry picked and there’s consequences for that and my son paid for it.” How many more sons, daughters, wives, mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters must die before the government goes back to enforcing what was never broken in the first place, the law?