By Joe Guzzardi
July 22, 2015
Most Americans instantly recognize Kate Steinle’s name. Steinle is the 32-year-old woman that five-times deported, seven-times convicted illegal alien felon Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez shot dead in sanctuary city San Francisco.
But unknown to most are the following names: Danny Oliver, Michael Davis Jr., Denny McCann, Josh Wilkerson and Grant Ronnebeck. Illegal aliens brutally murdered these five. During the last several years, hundreds more Americans have died at the hands of unlawful immigrants.
Steinle’s murder prompted Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley to convene an oversight hearing to address the Obama administration’s “misdirected immigration policies.” Relatives of Oliver, Davis, McCann, Wilkerson, Ronnebeck and Steinle told their tragic stories while U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services director Leon Rodriguez and Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Sarah listened. The immigration officials unconvincingly defended sanctuary cities and struggled to explain why their agencies can’t protect citizens from illegal immigrant criminals.
Oliver and Davis are the two Northern California law enforcement officers shot by a previously deported Mexican during a six-hour rampage; McCann was run down and dragged to death by an alien drunken driver who was subsequently released on bail; 18-year-old Wilkerson was tortured, killed and burned post-mortem by an alien classmate, and Ronnebeck was shot in the face at point blank range for a pack of cigarettes. Ronnebeck’s murderer, Apolinar Altamirano, is a self-admitted Mexican Mafia member and a career criminal with ties to the Sinaloa drug cartel.
In their testimonies, the furious but restrained families agreed that none of the illegal immigrant killers had compunctions about re-entering the U.S. They knew that, because of American nonenforcement approach to immigration and legal loopholes, they could carry out their lives of crime with little chance of deportation.
Addressing the Senate panel, Wilkerson’s mother Laura echoed the sentiments of millions of Americans: “I know you will sympathize with our stories, but I want more than that. I want you to be angry that America’s borders are wide open. America does not know who’s in the country. It’s time to put Americans first. Close the borders, figure out who is really here. Keep statistics. Realize that we are at war right here in this country.”
While Grassley’s hearing helped shine light on personal tragedies that didn’t make national headlines like Steinle’s, the time for talking is over and the day for congressional action is at hand. The evasive responses from Rodriguez and Saldana to the frightening raw statistics made it clear that the administration has no intention to end sanctuary cities or to secure the border. According to ICE statistics provided to the House Judiciary Committee, in 2013 and 2014, it released 66,564 criminal aliens. Through March 2015, ICE freed another 10,246 into the general population. The aliens had been convicted of violent crimes including homicide, sexual assault, kidnapping and aggravated assault.
In the weeks since Steinle’s murder, Congress has introduced several well-intended bills that would defund the nation’s 276 sanctuary cities. The larger problem, however, is the Obama administration which has steadfastly refused to enforce immigration law. Instead, according to data obtained through a Freedom of Information Act, the federal government has released nearly four times the total of criminal aliens as sanctuary cities have. A Department of Homeland Security Inspector General report found that DHS could not “definitively determine” how many aliens fled or subsequently became repeat offenders.
The Davis-Oliver bill, now in the Senate and the House and named in honor of the California officers, would help rein in the lawless Obama administration. The ball is in Congress’ court. Americans want their legislators to protect them. Time will tell whether Congress will carry out citizens’ will or continue to intentionally look the other way.
Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow. Contact him at [email protected]