In his speech that he delivered at Portland’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office, Sessions made an impassioned plea to every sanctuary jurisdiction to reconsider their policies. Sessions specifically urged California Governor Jerry Brown, who has stated his support for SB 54, not to sign the bill, and cited a recent San Francisco murder as evidence its destructive consequences. SB 54 bars local law enforcements’ cooperation with federal immigration officials.
Three weeks prior to Abel Esquivel’s Mission District murder at the hands of 18-year-old Erick Garcia-Pineda, who stole gun from a San Francisco police officer’s personal car, the suspect had been arrested on battery charges. But despite an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer request, San Francisco police released him. Local authorities also ignored ICE detainer requests on two other suspects in the Esquivel murder case.
Sessions choice of Oregon’s largest city and a sanctuary to deliver his appeal for immigration enforcement was appropriate. According to the July 1 Oregon Department of Correction’s bulletin, of the 986 incarcerated criminal aliens, 138 were jailed on homicide charges. Killers from faraway nations have found their way to Oregon: Mexico, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, among others.
Toward the end of his Portland speech, Sessions left his audience and California’s law-abiding citizens and legally present immigrants with this encouraging promise: “The Department of Justice will not concede a single block or street corner in the United States to lawlessness or crime. Nor will we tolerate the loss of innocent life because a handful of jurisdictions believe they are above the law.”