Monday, April 24, 2017

Sanctuary Cities

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Will Sanctuary Cities face a Trumpocalypse?

With the president threatening to withhold federal grants and funds to cities that refuse cooperation, big city mayors and immigration activists are trying their level best to push back at the administration’s attempts to make good of one of President Trump’s major campaign promises.

Cities refusing to cooperate with federal immigration authorities start feeling the Trump administration’s wrath. What is being seen as a move to put public pressure on sanctuary cities, the Department of Homeland Security released its first report on Monday, listing jurisdictions that refuse to cooperate with federal authorities.

The report lists counties and cities that refused requests from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to detain individuals even though they could have been released under normal circumstances.

Sanctuary cities are used to describe communities that refuse to work with ICE officials after detaining illegal immigrants. According to federal law, they are required to inform the feds whenever they have an illegal immigrant in custody, even if he or she is not guilty of any crime.

While the US Conference of Mayors (USCM) questioned the truthfulness of ICE detainers and the DHS report on Tuesday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Monday had already sent out a warning, saying, “Failure to deport aliens who are convicted of criminal offenses puts whole communities at risk, especially immigrant communities in the very sanctuary jurisdictions that seek to protect the perpetrators.”

Sessions’ statement, at a White House press briefing, sent a strong message to the nation that the Trump administration is indeed serious about its actions against illegal immigrants. The president’s team hopes to make its case against sanctuary cities with stats and anecdotes, clearly showing that it is the local government policies that are putting the lives of Americans at risk.

The White House has shown no sign of backing off the tough campaign promise Trump made. Weeks before Sessions’ warning that the Department of Justice would cut off federal funding to cities that refuse to cooperate, the Department of Homeland Security started publishing a list of crimes committed by illegal immigrants.

Supporters of the new policies hailed Sessions’ declaration.

“It’s very refreshing that under the Trump administration policies the public is now able to find out exactly what kind of individuals are being protected from immigration enforcement and released by the sanctuaries,” said Jessica Vaughan, of the Center for Immigration Studies. “The public now can hold their local officials accountable for the sanctuary policy.”

Several big cities, including New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, as well as dozens and possibly hundreds of smaller counties, cities and towns, also have refused to notify ICE, which can then come and take custody of the illegal immigrant, possibly for deportation.

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Let the deportations commence.

The chief of police in an upscale northern California town has issued a letter in Spanish to illegal immigrants in his city assuring them that they’re safe from deportation because his agency “will not engage in federal immigration enforcement activities.” Police in Windsor, which is situated about 60 miles north of San Francisco, will not arrest or detain any person for immigration violations or conduct “sweeps” to locate those “illegally present in the United States,” the letter states.

Windsor’s police chief, Carlos G. Basurto, reveals in the letter that he is the grandson of illegal immigrants and knows that an overwhelmingly large percentage of illegal aliens are good, decent and hard-working.
“I am committed to provide them and all other segments of our community with a safe and healthy community for all to enjoy and prosper and to have a feeling of equality,” the chief writes to illegal aliens in his municipality of about 28,000 residents. Basurto concedes that in his 28 years in law enforcement he’s seen illegal immigrants who are violent gang members, drug dealers, murderers, rapists, human traffickers and child abusers. “To think that this does not exist and that all immigrants are good people, is to be either naïve, uninformed or in denial,” the chief writes, confirming that “there is a segment committed to violence, drugs and domestic terrorism.”

With that said, the top law enforcement official in this California town vows to protect illegal aliens from federal authorities, even those with minor offenses. “Our community involves and includes everyone,” Chief Basurto writes. “I don’t want anyone, and I emphasize anyone, to be afraid to call upon us for assistance, information, advice or to report any crime or issue in our town.” The reassurances continue; “If you are an undocumented immigrant in the Town of Windsor, you do not need to fear the officers of the Windsor Police Department nor assume that they have any reason to bother you, detain you or arrest you for simply being undocumented. Your immigration status is completely irrelevant to us.” He adds that his agency collaborates with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to apprehend “serious or violent criminals” under the condition that ICE refrain from arresting any person based immigration status or low-level offenses.

Deep in the three-page letter the chief acknowledges that illegal entry to the United States is against the law, but his personal convictions evidently allow him to look the other way. His grandparents came from Mexico and worked in the fields and ranches of California and when he was in junior high he and his brother worked in the prune fields to earn money for school clothes. This taught Basurto to appreciate immigrant workers. “We also knew that most, if not all of these people, emigrated here from other countries to do this work, for little pay, in hopes of making a better life for themselves and their families,” the chief writes. “In essence, I can relate to these people, because like many of us in this town, we are these people.”

Guaranteeing illegal aliens that they’ll be shielded from federal authorities technically constitutes a sanctuary city, but Windsor officials say this could bring consequences under the new administration so they’re keeping it quiet. A local Spanish newspaper article reports that town manager Linda Kelly, a seasoned government official, has recommended that Windsor keep its sanctuary practices under the radar because President Donald Trump has threatened to cut federal funds to sanctuary cities. Instead, Windsor will adopt a resolution that omits the word sanctuary, instead declaring the town to be a united community that values diversity and the contributions of all residents.

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illegal

The recent murder committed by a twice-deported illegal immigrant gangbanger in a Maryland sanctuary county makes the following information both enraging and unbelievable; nearly 12,000 illegal immigrants with criminal histories were protected from federal authorities by sanctuary jurisdictions in the U.S. during a 19-month period, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) figures obtained by the Washington D.C.-based Center for Immigration Studies (CIS).

A few weeks ago CIS published a map identifying about 300 jurisdictions that have official policies shielding illegal aliens from federal authorities. During a 19-month stretch from January 1, 2014, to September 30, 2015, more than 17,000 federal detainers were rejected by these sanctuary jurisdictions, CIS found.

Around 11,800 of the detainers, or 68%, were issued for individuals with a prior criminal history. “According to ICE statistics, since the Obama administration implemented the new Priority Enforcement Program in July 2015 restricting ICE use of detainers, the number of rejected detainers has declined,” CIS writes in a report accompanying the map. “However, the number of detainers issued by ICE also has declined in 2016, so it is not clear if the new policies are a factor.”

The bottom line is that hundreds of local governments across the nation shield illegal immigrants from the feds, even when they have engaged in criminal activity. In some cases they go on to commit heinous crimes that receive widespread media attention. Judicial Watch has reported many of them and launched investigations, obtaining public records from the jurisdictions that protected the criminal aliens.

Back in 2008 Judicial Watch obtained records from the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department—an agency long renowned for offering sanctuary—related to Edwin Ramos, an illegal alien from El Salvador who murdered three innocent American citizens. Ramos was a member of a famously violent street gang and had been convicted of two felonies as a juvenile (a gang-related assault on a bus passenger and the attempted robbery of a pregnant woman) yet he was allowed to remain in the country.

Judicial Watch also investigated the 2010 case of a drunken illegal alien who killed a nun in Virginia and we sued the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to obtain records. The Bolivian national, Carlos Montano, had a substantial criminal history but federal authorities released him on his own recognizance after two previous arrests. Virginia doesn’t have a statewide sanctuary policy, but Arlington and Chesterfield County do, according to the CIS database.

Judicial Watch’s probe determined that Montano had a revoked license and had previously been arrested on drunk-driving charges when his car crossed a median and slammed into a vehicle carrying three nuns. The two survivors were critically injured. The number of serious crimes committed by illegal aliens who have benefitted from sanctuary policies is undoubtedly on the rise.

Just last summer a case in a small sanctuary town of 40,000 received global media attention over the gruesome nature of the crime. A Haitian illegal immigrant who had spent 17 years in prison for attempted murder, savagely stabbed a young woman in Norwich, Connecticut then stuffed her body in a closet.

At least three deportation orders had been issued for the killer, Jean Jacques, dating back to 2002. Connecticut has long protected illegal immigrants with sanctuary policies and even offers them special drivers’ licenses, known as Drive Only. The state also gives illegal aliens discounted tuition at public colleges and universities and authorities work hard to restrict the feds from deporting illegal immigrants.

In fact, despite President Obama’s amnesty and open-borders policies, Connecticut is always a step ahead when it comes to protecting illegal immigrants and granting them rights. Undoubtedly, this attracts a large population of undocumented aliens like the murderer in this case.

Last week an illegal immigrant member of the notoriously violent MS-13 street gang murdered a teenager in Gaithersburg, Maryland. The 28-year-old gangbanger from El Salvador, Oscar Delgado-Perez, had been deported twice in the last two years, according to a mainstream newspaper.

Nevertheless Delgado-Perez was never removed and, along with two fellow gangbangers, he brutally stabbed an 18-year-old more than 40 times in a Gaithersburg park as the teen begged for his life. Gaithersburg is in Montgomery County, which proudly offers illegal aliens sanctuary. In fact, earlier this year Montgomery County officials publicly reassured illegal aliens that police would play no role in a federal government operation to deport recent undocumented aliens from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico.

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sanctuary cities

The Obama administration rewards sanctuary states, counties and cities that shield violent illegal immigrants from deportation with hundreds of millions of dollars in federal grants and one of the biggest recipients recently made headlines for protecting a serial criminal who murdered a young woman. The money flows through the Department of Justice (DOJ), the agency responsible for enforcing the law and defending the interests of the United States. The DOJ is also charged with providing federal leadership in preventing and controlling crime, according to its mission statement, and seeking just punishment for those guilty of unlawful behavior.

Apparently this doesn’t apply to local governments that support the president’s broad open borders policies, even when they violate federal law. The DOJ doled out $342,168,401 to 10 sanctuary states and cities that proudly reject federal claims for criminal illegal aliens earmarked for removal, according to the agency’s independent watchdog. Among them is Connecticut, a trailblazer in the sanctuary movement that received more than $69 million in grants from the DOJ. Connecticut has long protected illegal immigrants with sanctuary policies and even offers them special drivers’ licenses, known as Drive Only. The state also gives illegal aliens discounted tuition at public colleges and universities and authorities work hard to restrict the feds from deporting illegal immigrants. Last year an illegal immigrant who had spent 17 years in prison for attempted murder stabbed a 25-year-old woman to death in Norwich, a city of about 40,000 residents. The murderer had been earmarked for deportation at least three times.

California, also a renowned sanctuary state that offers illegal immigrants a number of taxpayer-funded perks, topped the list with $132,409,635 in DOJ grants. Judicial Watch has investigated the state’s illegal sanctuary policies for years and back in 2008 launched a California public records request with the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department to obtain the arrest and booking information on Edwin Ramos, an illegal alien from El Salvador who murdered three innocent American citizens. Ramos was a member of a renowned violent street gang and had been convicted of two felonies as a juvenile (a gang-related assault on a bus passenger and the attempted robbery of a pregnant woman) yet he was allowed to remain in the country. Last year Judicial Watch obtained records showing that violent crime—including murder and rape—in the Bay area has skyrocketed since the San Francisco Sheriff and City Council expanded illegal alien sanctuary policies in 2013.

Under the ordinance San Francisco law enforcement agencies are required to ignore most U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainers. Judicial Watch is also investigating whether the city violated the law again with its sanctuary policy that led to the release of Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, an illegal immigrant deported five times who gunned down Kate Steinle at one of the most popular tourist spots in San Francisco.

Two cities—New York and Chicago—got $60,091,942 and $28,523,222 respectively from the DOJ and Philadelphia followed with $16,505,312. South Florida’s Miami-Dade County received $10,778,815, Milwaukee, Wisconsin got $7,539,572, Cook County, Illinois $6,018,544, Clark County, Nevada $6,257,9851 and Orleans Parish, Louisiana $4,737,964. In some cases elected officials in these municipalities brag about defying federal immigration laws. One, the mayor of Chicago, is mentioned in the DOJ Inspector General report for publicly stating: “We are not going to turn people over to ICE, and we are not going to check their immigration status.” The city also prohibits employees from cooperating with federal immigration authorities, the report says.

Other recipients of our taxpayer dollars do the same with no consequences. The Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office has an “ICE Procedures” policy that states the agency shall not initiate any immigration status investigation into individuals in their custody or provide the feds with information on an inmate’s release date or address.

Philadelphia’s mayor issued an executive order stating that the pending release of the subject of an ICE immigration detainer shall not be provided to the agency unless the person has been convicted of a felony and New York enacted a law years ago restricting jail personnel from communicating with ICE regarding an inmate’s release date, incarceration status or court dates. The law resulted in ICE closing its office on Riker’s Island and ceasing operations on any other NYC Department of Corrections property, the report reveals. It’s beyond comprehension that these law-breaking local governments are being rewarded with federal funds distributed by the agency responsible for enforcing the law.

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how-many-more-have-to-die

Kate Steinle was brutally murdered on July 1 of this year by a man who reportedly was deported five times, providing a dramatic underscoring of presidential candidate Donald Trump’s politically incorrect comments on illegal immigration. Steinle’s murder fed a larger national conversation about illegals, and issue that until recently seemed foreordained to disappear in a legislative orgy of amnesty and open borders.

The Republican-dominated House of Representatives acted in response to the Steinle tragedy, voting Thursday 241-179 to pass H.R. 3009, the “Enforce the Law for Sanctuary Cities Act.” The bill is intended to deny federal law enforcement funding to the so-called “sanctuary cities” that provide protection for illegals who witness crimes. Five Republicans and six Democrats crossed party lines in the predominantly partisan vote.

The Obama administration, predictably, promised a veto shortly before the vote on the bill. At the same time Kate Steinle’s father was testifying before the House, the administration’s Office of Management and Budget released the following statement:

“This bill fails to offer comprehensive reforms needed to fix the nation’s broken immigration laws, undermines current administration efforts to remove the most dangerous convicted criminals and to work collaboratively with state and local law enforcement agencies, and threatens the civil rights of all Americans by authorizing state and local officials to collect information regarding any private citizen’s immigration status, at any time, for any reason, and without justification. If the President were presented with H.R. 3009, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto this bill.”

Opinion on the bill, unsurprisingly, is sharply divided on party lines.

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, of Maryland, criticized the bill for degrading relations between immigrants and police. “Those convicted of committing acts of criminal violence must always face the full force of the law,” he said. “However, this legislation would only undermine the trust between immigrant communities and local law enforcement. Second-guessing decisions made by law enforcement, withholding public safety funding, and demonizing immigrants will neither make our communities safer nor fix our broken immigration system.”

The ACLU echoed Hoyer’s arguments on its official blog. Joanne Lin of the Washington office of the ACLU said bluntly the bill offers “no solution” the illegal immigration problem.

Other House Democrats used the bill as an opportunity to mock Trump, dubbing the bill “the Trump bill,” and noting sarcastically he is more effective at getting legislation to the floor than his primary opponents.

Rep. Tom MacArthur, R-New Jersey, addressed the Trump accusations. “This is a valid concern that we’re voting on today. I’m not going to let Donald Trump dictate my vote.”

Other Republicans universally rejected the rest of the left-wing narrative, hammering home repeatedly that the Obama administration and the “sanctuary cities” are not only breaking the law, but contributing directly to violent crime against citizens.

Bombastic and popular Rep. Trey Gowdy put the issues succinctly when he asked “A refuge for whom? A sanctuary for whom? A sanctuary for Kate Steinle? Or a refuge for a convicted felon with a 25-year-long criminal history?”

Rep. Garret Graves, R-Louisiana noted the huge numbers of illegals during Obama’s tenure, and the problems they cause. “Reports indicate that over two and half million new illegal immigrants have flowed into America since 2009,” Graves said. “Cities that are providing sanctuary to these illegal immigrants perpetuate the problem by providing a safe haven from law enforcement and discouraging people from following the legal process to become Americans. These Sanctuary Cities place an additional burden on already strained federal resources.”

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, was sharply critical of the Obama administration’s conduct on immigration. Obama, King says, weakened our immigration laws by changing the verbiage in ICE detainers. These detainers are meant to keep illegals in custody so that immigration officials have time to determine if deportation is called for.

King also pointed out how many thousands of illegals are released from prisons as a result of ICE not being enforced, citing 48,000 violent crimes by 25,000 released individuals in 2011 alone. “So the revelation is breathtaking in this nation all because we refuse to enforce the law,” he said. “And this Congress saw it coming. I saw it 10 years ago. All because of politics, they’re pandering to people they know are law breakers. This was 100 percent preventable.”

House Speaker John Boehner summed it all up neatly. “We had a horrible tragedy that was preventable,” he said. “Cities do not have the right to ignore federal laws that require them to incarcerate people who commit serious felonies.”

As this episode once again demonstrates, the Obama administration and the hard left have no regard for the laws of the land. The leftists in the House, and the White House, are more than happy to continue to flout the rules, allowing massive numbers of illegals – who commit violent crimes, thefts, and DUI at a rate far greater than citizens – into our country with no repercussions. Their support for the sanctuary policies is further evidence that the left has no interest in protecting American citizens. The GOP might deny it, but Trump’s brash statements on immigration have changed the debate – and might just end up saving American lives.

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