SCOTT STEEPLETON, NEWS-PRESS ASSOCIATE EDITOR
July 24, 2008
Santa Barbara-based Californians for Population Stabilization on Wednesday called on the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Francisco to take over a triple homicide case involving an illegal alien member of an El Salvadoran street gang.
In a letter to U.S. Attorney Joseph Russoniello, CAPS President Diana Hull described San Francisco — a city of refuge for people in this country illegally — as repeatedly irresponsible and urged the federal government to prosecute Edwin Ramos, 21, in connection with the killings of San Francisco residents Tony Bologna and his two sons, Michael and Mathew near their home on June 22.
Ms. Hull, whose group has studied the effects of violent acts by illegals, said incompetency and sanctimony on the part of San Francisco officials has resulted in the shielding from prosecution of drug dealers and violent offenders "and now a possible triple murder by somebody who should have been deported from our country years ago."
All too often, she said, "The sympathy factor overwhelms the tragedy factor. I don’t think it will this time."
By some accounts, Mr. Ramos, whom authorities say is a member of the MS13 gang, came to San Francisco illegally at the age of 13 — and he’s been in trouble with the law ever since: convicted of two gang-related felonies, then an assault. He later allegedly tried to rob a pregnant woman, and in March of this year, he was arrested on a gun charge.
Local authorities have long been familiar with him, but did not alert immigration officials because of the city’s 19-year-old policy of non-cooperation.
Mayor Gavin Newsom — who’s eyeing a run for governor — summed it up this way in 2006, when a fence along the Mexican border and other restrictions against illegals were making their way through Congress: "This is a city of refuge 0xc9 San Francisco stands in strong opposition of the rhetoric coming out of Washington, D.C."
Since 1989, San Francisco city employees have been barred from working with federal authorities to enforce U.S. immigration law.
In 2006, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed a resolution barring any help enforcing criminal provisions of federal immigration law. That same year, Bilen Mesfin, a spokeswoman for the San Francisco District Attorney’s office declared, " We are a sanctuary city, a city of refuge, and we always will be," according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Some say the policy not only allows illegals to access taxpayer programs but also protects those illegals who commit other crimes.
Rick Oltman, a Californians for Population Stabilization spokesman who was in court for the Ramos matter Wednesday, told the News-Press that media coverage of the case spurred the defense to seek a gag order, but San Francisco Superior Court Judge Lucy Kelly McCabe denied the request.
Mr. Ramos appeared before Judge McCabe manacled at the waist and wearing a reddish orange jumpsuit, said Mr. Oltman.
"He was quiet but did not seem the least bit contrite."
Authorities say the men were shot at point-blank range after Tony Bologna’s car apparently blocked Mr. Ramos from making a turn down a narrow street.
"Our goal goes beyond this case to show the cities throughout the country what an abomination a sanctuary city is and what a complete expression of lawlessness a sanctuary city can provide," said Mr. Oltman.
In addition to Fresno, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and Sonoma County, a 2006 report by the Congressional Research Service listed these cities and counties as having sanctuary policies: Anchorage and Fairbanks, Alaska; Chandler, Ariz.; Evanston and Cicero, Ill.; Cambridge and Orleans, Mass.; Portland, Maine; Baltimore and Takoma Park, Md.; Ann Arbor, Mich.; Minneapolis, Minn.; Durham, N.C.; Albuquerque, Aztec, Rio Arriba County and Sante Fe, N.M.; New York City; Ashland, Gaston and Marion County, Ore.; Austin, Houston and Katy, Texas; Seattle, Wash.; and Madison, Wis.
Californians for Population Stabilization is not alone in seeking change.
Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo sent a letter to Attorney General Michael Mukasey asking him to investigate the San Francisco sanctuary city policy that led to the Bologna killings.
"As is the case all too often, this tragedy could have been prevented if current immigration laws were being enforced," Mr. Tancredo wrote. "Because San Francisco’s political leaders have already demonstrated their willingness to act in flagrant violation of federal law, I do not believe that local judicial institutions can be trusted to fairly try the case or mete out an appropriate punishment."
Mr. Oltman said: "This prosecutor for the city of San Francisco is competent, there’s no doubt about that."
Still, his group sees this as the perfect case for the Attorney General to step into.
"In the past, Ramos was shielded from federal prosecution by city government," he said.
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