WASHINGTON – The Obama administration’s recent refusal to let the nation’s top deportation official crack down on “sanctuary cities” suddenly has deadly relevance: It may have cost a San Francisco woman her life.
- On March 19, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, Director Sarah Saldana pleaded with Congress to crack down on sanctuary cities that refuse to enforce immigration laws and, instead, harbor foreigners in the country illegally.
- On March 20, Saldana did a complete about-face, issuing a statement saying she did not want to see Congress pass laws forcing sanctuary cities to enforce the law.
- On July 1, illegal immigrant Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez shot to death Kate Steinle on a pier in San Francisco.
- Lopez-Sanchez had been deported five times.
- It would have been six, but San Francisco authorities released him from custody under the city’s sanctuary city policy.
- ICE had Lopez-Sanchez in custody after his release from federal prison but turned him over to San Francisco authorities who wanted him on a drug warrant.
- ICE asked to be informed if he was released, but San Francisco doesn’t honor such requests under its sanctuary policy.
- CNN reported on Saturday that Freya Horne, chief legal counsel to the San Francisco County Sheriff, said “he was let go because there was no legal cause to detain the suspect” after the drug charges were dropped.
San Francisco did not comply with ICE’s request to detain Lopez-Sanchez because, Horne said, city officials believe that violates Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure.
Local television station KRON reported that San Francisco’s policy on illegal immigrants “states that a law enforcement official shall not detain an individual on the basis of a civil immigration detainer after that individual becomes eligible for release from custody.”
In a jailhouse interview with San Francisco television station KGO, Lopez-Sanchez readily admitted to shooting Steinle.
When asked, “Did you keep coming back to San Francisco because you knew they wouldn’t actively look for you to deport you?” he simply replied, “Yes.”
When ICE chief Saldana, who had only been on the job 90 days, testified in March, she was adamant about the need to crack down on sanctuary cities.
She was asked by Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., “Would it help you if we clarified the law to make it clear that it was mandatory that those local communities cooperate?”
Saldana responded, “Thank you, amen, yes.”
But the next day, she had completely reversed course, issuing a statement.
“Any effort at federal legislation now to mandate state and local law enforcement’s compliance with ICE detainers will, in our view, be a highly counterproductive step and lead to more resistance and less cooperation in our overall efforts to promote public safety,” Saldana said.
The Obama administration hasn’t just refused to crackdown on sanctuary cities, it has sued states that have tried to enforce immigration laws, such as Arizona.
The White House is blaming Republicans for the murder of Steinle.
Press Secretary Josh Earnest blamed the GOP for not passing a so-called comprehensive immigration reform bill last year, because it would have spent more money on border security.
Earnest made that bold assertion despite the seemingly much more relevant fact that the administration has ordered ICE to release 76,000 illegal immigrants with criminal records over the last two years.
The Washington Times reported, “Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson declined to say Monday whether cities offering ‘sanctuary’ to dangerous illegal immigrants are posing a safety threat in the United States.”
Commenting on Steinle’s murder, a congressional aide told WND, “It would be nice if Senators Rubio and Schumer would have spent their energies trying to end sanctuary cities instead of trying to pass Obama’s amnesty.”
Rubio and Schumer both pushed the so-called comprehensive immigration reform bill that passed in the Senate but died in the House, which conservatives said would have only increased immigration and provided amnesty to millions already in the country illegally. Rubio is also sponsoring a bill to increase immigration visas.
Family members described the 32-year-old Steinle as “loving, smart and beautiful.”
“She had so much to live for and died so senselessly,” said her father, Jim Steinle.
He was with her and tried to save her with CPR.
She just kept saying, “Dad, help me, help me,” Steinle’s mother, Liz Sullivan, told KRON.
“He should have never been out, and now our daughter is gone forever,” Sullivan told the Chronicle.
Steinle, a medical device salesperson, died during surgery at San Francisco General Hospital, after her heart stopped twice on the way there.
Lopez-Sanchez was arrested a mile away from the scenic tourist attraction Pier 14, just an hour after the 6:30 p.m. shooting, and after numerous witnesses showed police photos they’d taken of him.
He has seven felony convictions, and his most recent deportation was in 2009.
After the shooting, GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump called Steinle’s death “very, very sad,” and said the “senseless and totally preventable act of violence” was “yet another example of why we must secure our border.”
NBC called those remarks “controversial.”
When Trump recently spoke up about the negative effects of illegal immigration, he was vilified in the press and by several GOP presidential candidates but shot up in the polls to first place in the race for the nomination.
He was the only candidate to comment on the shooting, taking a jab at fellow GOP candidate Rubio with a tweet: “@marcorubio what do you say to the family of Kathryn Steinle in CA who was viciously killed b/c we can’t secure our border? Stand up for US.”
Trump’s sudden ascent may confirm WND’s report on Monday that polls and research show the GOP may be squandering a winning issue by not opposing increased immigration.
Polls show the public overwhelmingly opposes amnesty and increased immigration and supports deportation of illegal immigrants. Research shows the unprecedented influx of legal and illegal immigrants is driving down wages and increasing unemployment.
On Monday, Reuters reported two more GOP candidates may see opposing immigration, and bucking the party line, as a way to get votes.
The paper reported Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wisc., and former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., are suggesting decreasing immigration “could help them tap into the frustrations of working-class voters who have struggled with stagnant wages and reduced job opportunities since the economic crisis of 2007-2009.”
WND reported in December that, contrary to common belief, current immigration levels are far higher than the historic norm. WND also reported how Democrats are using increased immigration to gain votes and push the country to the left.
The number of immigrants flooding into the country today dwarfs anything in U.S. history.
- During the peak of the last great wave of immigration between 1920 and 1930, 14.2 million foreigners arrived in America.
- 40 million immigrants arrived between 2000 and 2010.
- 47 million more are expected by the end of this decade.
- That number jumps to 78 million a decade by the year 2060.
A graph of the numbers over the years vividly illustrates just how different today’s astronomical immigration levels are from the historic norm, and where they are heading, at a record-shattering pace.
- According to U.S. Census numbers, immigration averaged only 195,000 per year from 1921 through 1970.
- With the change in immigration law in 1965, immigration levels skyrocketed from an average of 250,000 to one million a year.
- The number of foreign-born persons in the U.S. has doubled from 1990 to 2010, almost tripled since 1980, and quadrupled since 1970.
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