Cover image from digitaljournal.com
As the details began to emerge surrounding the death of Kate Steinle in San Francisco a couple weeks ago, political opponents on either side of the political divide lined up red rover style and started pointing fingers.
- This wouldn’t happen if we would tighten border security.
- Well, if people are living and working here without hurting anyone, we can’t just deport them.
- How can someone be deported five times, and have a score of felony counts and be released onto the streets?
- Cities should be able to opt out of Federal Law if the people consider it immoral.
And on and on.
The reality is that someone who has 20 felony counts on a rap sheet shouldn’t be on the streets of the United States or any other country, regardless of whether or not they are an illegal alien, or have been deported and continue to cross the border. These people have no respect for the law or anyone but themselves for that matter. That does not stop the liberal establishment – including an apologetic mainstream media – from extolling the virtues of the almost 300 government entities known as “sanctuary cities” where illegal aliens are welcomed with open arms and are less likely to be handed over to federal officials, even though that has been known to happen.
However, given that Kate Steinle died in the manner she did and at the hands of the criminal in question, shot with a gun that was stolen from an American federal agentsome introspection has begun among those in the mainstream media. An editorial on USAToday.com demonstrates the line of thought:
Lopez-Sanchez was in the San Francisco County jail in April and should have been deported yet again. Federal immigration authorities had lodged a “detainer,” seeking to get custody and do just that. All they needed was a call or other contact from the sheriff’s office.
The contact was never made, not because of some ghastly mistake or miscommunication but because of a city ordinance that prohibits police from honoring detainers except in rare cases. And, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, because of a policy by the local sheriff that bars contact with immigration authorities. After a local charge against Lopez-Sanchez was dropped, he was held for three weeks, then put on the street.
On July 1, less than three months later, Steinle, 32, was dead, collateral damage in a long-running feud between the local and federal governments over deportation.
San Francisco is one of nearly 300 cities and counties across the country with sanctuary laws or policies aimed at separating federal immigration enforcement from local policing, in order to build trust between immigrant communities and local police. The reasoning goes like this: If immigrants, including millions of undocumented ones, see local police officers as a tool for deportation, they will not report crimes or come forward as witnesses, even when they are victims, and public safely will suffer.
In that context, there’s a certain logic to the “sanctuary” idea, but not when carried to extremes. Sanctuary policies set by cities, counties and states differ from place to place, but San Francisco’s violates all common sense. Protecting a hard-working undocumented immigrant charged with a misdemeanor is one thing. Putting a long-term felon and serial illegal entrant on the street is the antithesis of ensuring public safety.
It should not matter if an illegal alien is “hard-working” and other than crossing the border without permission lives a quiet, and patriotic life. These people are still here illegally and the governments of the cities and counties that are keeping them from immigration officials are still breaking the law. At the same time, the blanket of apologetics for the practice does seem to have holes that are being explored by otherwise featherbrained liberals.
Is this the beginning of the end for sanctuary cities? Given the scapegoating of the sheriff in this case it is to soon to tell, but excusing cities culpable in the release of felons onto the streets BECAUSE they are illegals is at least being examined.
For more thoughts on this issue, Ed Morrissey of HotAir has a lengthy commentary.