Sanctuary Cities Violate Federal Law, Invite Crime, Harbor Criminals

Published on July 21st, 2015

By Joe Guzzardi
July 21, 2015

Blame President Barack Obama for Kathryn Steinle’s senseless murder at the hands of five-time deported, seven-time convicted felon and Mexican alien Francisco Sanchez. Since the day he took office, Obama has bullheadedly dismantled immigration laws and issued sweeping executive actions that encourage more unlawful entry.

Obama has enablers, namely the highest levels of California’s leadership. In 2013, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed the Trust Act which protects illegal immigrants from deportation in all but the most egregious cases. Brown is an outspoken advocate for more illegal immigration, and has outrageously welcomed all of Mexico to come to California including, as the governor put it, those who are “not documented.” Attorney General Kamala Harris, a high profile candidate for retiring Sen. Barbara Boxer’s seat, vigorously supported Brown in his efforts to get the California legislature behind the Trust Act.

Local San Francisco bureaucracy is also complicit in Steinle’s murder. San Francisco has taken great pride in being among the nation’s first sanctuary cities. Since 1989, the city has become increasingly welcoming to illegal immigrants. In 2008, then-Mayor Gavin Newsome embarked on an advertising campaign to advise residents that, effective immediately, the city would have a don’t-ask-don’t-tell policy on legal status, and would facilitate granting benefits to aliens. Said Newsome at the time: “We don’t care what your status is.”

In the 25 years since San Francisco identified itself as a sanctuary city, the deportation standards for criminals have been relaxed. Last year, San Francisco County Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi issued a press release advising that the S.F. police department would no longer honor U.S. Customs and Enforcement detainers unless they’re supported by a judicial determination of probable cause or with a warrant. Mirkarimi’s logic is convenient for immigration advocates, but twisted reasoning that sets dangerous criminals free.

ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice told Bay Area reporters that Sanchez, who has provided multiple birth dates and aliases on his rap sheets from Texas, Arizona, Oregon and California, had a detainer on his status in jail and was an enforcement priority who should have been turned over. Instead, the sheriff’s office never notified Kice that it had released Sanchez.

In his jail house confession, Sanchez admitted that he shot Steinle and that he repeatedly returned to the United States, and specifically to San Francisco, because he knew sanctuary polices would shield him from deportation. Sanchez also claimed that he kept coming to the U.S to get a job in construction or restaurant services.

Shawn Moran, the National Border Patrol Council’s Vice President, said that illegal immigrants know exactly which U.S. cities have sanctuary policies, and head toward them as soon as they cross. Moran predicts more violence to come if the government doesn’t secure the border and eliminate sanctuary cities.

Federal law prohibits municipalities from establishing sanctuary cities. According to the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, federal, state and local governments or their officials may not prohibit or restrict any other government entity or official from sending to or receiving from the Immigration and Naturalization Service information regarding the citizenship or immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of any individual.

Neither the Department of Homeland Security nor the Department of Justice has ever challenged cities that establish sanctuary policies which suggests that, as Moran indicated, more murders perpetrated by unlawful immigrants against innocent citizens are inevitable.


Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow. Contact him at [email protected]


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