As the world searches high and low for convicted murderer and drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, perhaps the authorities should be searching for him in San Francisco.
San Francisco, a sanctuary city, has policies designed to shelter illegal immigrants from federal law enforcement officials. Essentially, sanctuary cities are those that openly defy federal immigration laws on the books, putting the comfort of illegal immigrants ahead of the safety of Americans. Right now, there are about 300 cities in America that operate in some form as a sanctuary city.
Two weeks ago, five-time felon and five-time deportee Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez shot and killed 32-year-old Kate Steinle in San Francisco, California. Lopez-Sanchez has admitted to targeting San Francisco because of its sanctuary policies. In this case, San Francisco refused to notify Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials of the arrest of Lopez-Sanchez, who requested in writing to be notified if Lopez-Sanchez turned up under arrest.
Instead, local law enforcement officials released him back into the city to commit the eventual crime of murdering Ms. Steinle.
As tragic as this story is, perhaps the most horrifying aspect is that it is far from uncommon. ICE has notified Congress that 276 sanctuary cities released 8,145 illegals held on criminal charges between January and August 2014 despite ICE requests to detain them for deportation. Of that number, around 1,867 of them went on to commit 7,491 new crimes, including rape and child sex abuse.
As the Washington Post Editorial Board – not known for its conservatism – noted last week, “[n]o convicted felon, let alone one with multiple narcotics convictions, deserves sanctuary in the United States.” It’s outrageous that we have tolerated sanctuary cities for this long. They provide a safe haven for dangerous criminals to repeatedly commit crimes against everyday American citizens like Kate Steinle.
That is why I offered an amendment to the 2016 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Appropriations Bill that will ensure cities like San Francisco comply with federal immigration laws and ICE requests to prevent tragedies like this from ever occurring again. My amendment, adopted by the committee by a 28-21 vote, directs DHS to withhold grant funding to cities that operate with sanctuary policies. If these cities wish to continue to subvert the law they will do so without the support of American taxpayers.
Reasonable minds can differ on most policies, but support for sanctuary cities perplexes me. Democrats so often cite Obamacare as “the law of the land” as a crutch to defend the flailing law. Yet, here we have cities who are openly defying federal laws on the books and demands from ICE officials for compliance being defended by members of the same “law of the land” party.
Hopefully Ms. Steinle’s tragic and unnecessary death will change some minds. It’s time for this madness to stop.
[mc_name name=”Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-KS)” chamber=”house” mcid=”Y000063″ ]