Memo to Mayors and Governors: Sanctuary Cities Protect Gangs and Rapists, Not Legal Immigrants

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, center, speaks at a news conference Monday, Nov. 14, 2016, in Chicago. Emanuel said the outcome of the U.S. presidential election will not impact Chicago's commitment as a sanctuary city for immigrants.

The organized outrage over President-elect Trump’s plans to deport up to 2,000,000 criminal aliens has the look and smell of identity politics.

How and why convicted criminals became a privileged political constituency instead of over law abiding legal immigrants remains a mystery.

The identity politics behind “sanctuary cities” failed Hillary Clinton miserably, and it may yet prove to be the Achilles heel of big city Democrat mayors as well.

There’s a new sheriff in town, and he has both the law and public opinion on his side. Sanctuary city advocates in Los Angeles, Denver, Atlanta, New York and other cities are about to be confronted by a Congress and federal law  enforcement agencies united in a simple mission: to enforce the law.

News bulletin: Deporting criminal aliens is not a new concept.

It was accepted policy across the nation until Political Correctness replaced common sense. Are citizens in rebellion against deporting the 6,000-plus criminal aliens currently serving jail terms in Colorado’s local jails and state prison facilities? No, only the political establishment finds the idea repugnant.

Memo to Governors Brown, Hickenlooper and Cuomo: Your political stupidity is no longer protected by the Obama White House and Justice Department. You will soon experience the full force of federal law enforcement backed by congressional funding prohibitions and public outrage over your criminally negligent behavior.

The Trump administration and Congress understand that sanctuary city policies have nothing to do with protecting children and families. Obstructing the legitimate enforcement of federal immigration law is about protecting convicted criminals from the consequences of their criminal behavior. Urban politicians will soon learn there are consequences for their criminally negligent behavior as well.

There is considerable hypocrisy in the statements issued this past week by mayors and governors proclaiming, “We will not help federal officials enforce federal immigration law.”

  • The 2012 US Supreme Court case arising from Arizona’s attempt to supplement federal penalties against illegal aliens affirmed not only the supremacy of federal law over state law, it also affirmed state responsibilities as a full partner in the enforcement of immigration law.
  • It is grossly contradictory for any state official to celebrate federal supremacy in immigration law — as sanctuary advocates did following the 2012 Arizona ruling — while simultaneously refusing to help enforce those same federal laws that have preempted state law. The last governor to defy the enforcement of legitimate federal law was George Wallace, and that did not work out very well.

As to the arguments heard every day in defense of sanctuary city policies, they are hollow and unpersuasive to most Americans.

  • Can “immigrant family unity” be disrupted by the conviction and eventual deportation of a criminal alien? Yes. But please ask your local Social Justice Warrior this question: why is that more unfortunate and unacceptable than the consequences suffered by the family of a citizen or legal immigrant who is convicted of auto theft, assault, murder, or selling heroin or methamphetamines?
  • When did “family unity” become an escape hatch only for illegal aliens but not for anyone else? Is it because any proposal to adopt it as a legal principle applicable to all criminal defendants would be laughed out of town?

The inconvenient truth is that ending sanctuary city policies is a step toward equal justice for all, citizen and illegal immigrant alike. Criminal aliens are not deserving of additional protections not available to citizens and legal immigrants.

Ending criminal aliens’ exemptions from federal law enforcement will mean removing tens of thousands of dangerous felons from our communities. Why is that goal even controversial?  Ask the Service Employee International Union (SEIU), whose membership and treasury have  ballooned under sanctuary policies.

What are the real numbers? How many criminal aliens will be affected by the unobstructed enforcement of federal immigration law?

  • A 2011 report by the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that in 2010 there were 55,000 illegal aliens in federal prisons and in 2009, there were 296,000 in state and local facilities.
  • ICE documents reveal that there are over 925,000 criminal aliens who have exhausted their appeals and been ordered deported by a court of law but not yet processed for deportation.
  • The federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) in 2014 estimated there are 1.9 million deportable criminal aliens under current federal law.

As everyone knows, President Obama restricted the list of crimes that trigger deportation to a small number of violent felonies, not all felonies. As a result, since 2010 annual deportation numbers declined dramatically.

President Trump may decide to simply tell ICE agents, “Enforce the law as written by Congress.” In that case, ICE might well start deportation processing for all 1.9 million criminal aliens deportable under current law. Or, Trump could decide to limit initial deportations to all felons. The point is that Trump wants to enforce the law instead of ignoring the law. What a novel concept!

How many criminal aliens does each state have? That information is not readily available but can be found through diligent sifting through government documents, especially the annual reports by the US Department of Justice on reimbursement grants to state and local jails under the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP). It is astonishing how many newspaper reporters have never looked at those annual reports and reported on the number of criminal aliens in local jails.

  • To take the example of Colorado, which ranks about tenth nationally in the number of criminal aliens in local jails, the Colorado Department of Corrections (CDOC) publishes an annual count of criminal aliens held in the state prison system as defined by the federal SCAAP guidelines.
  • In 2015, Colorado held 1,893 “ICE eligible’ criminal aliens and received a federal reimbursement grant of $1,170,973 — or about 2% of the actual annual cost of incarceration — $36,892 per inmate or $69,836,556.
  • Thus, in 2015 alone, the taxpayers of Colorado were out over $68 million in unreimbursed costs for those 1,893 criminal aliens.
  • Colorado has received a total of $64,596,162 in federal reimbursement grants since 1995. CDOC determined in 2008 that the federal reimbursement was only 8 cents on the dollar, so we have to multiply that $64 million figure by 12 to get the true, cumulative cost to state taxpayers. That amount is $774 million in cumulative unreimbursed costs to Colorado taxpayers.

What the state CDOC data do not reveal is that local jails in Colorado also receive annual SCAAP reimbursement grants for partial reimbursement of the costs to county taxpayers. In 2015 that total was $1,408,900 — more than the state prison system’s grant.

  • Since the jail terms of inmates in local county jails are typically 30 to 90 days and always less than a full year, that $1.4 million figure suggests that the number of criminal aliens held in local jails in 2015 was over 5,000 statewide.
  • Adding those two numbers together, 1,893 in state prisons plus at least 5,000 in local jails stateeide, we find that Colorado in 2015 had over 6,500 criminal aliens recycling through its penal institutions.

In 2016 across the nation, the total number of criminal aliens in our jails and prisons is more than 300,000.

Now, ask yourself —  what is the difference in how those convicted criminals are treated in Sanctuary cities and states compared to places where federal law is being enforced? What happens to those 300,000 convicted criminals when they are released from jail in 2016 or 2017? Under sanctuary policies, how many would be turned over to ICE and deported? The answer: only a small fraction.

It is not public opinion that stands in the way of deporting all criminal alien felons. Even in progressive California, a large majority of citizens support deportation policies. A University of California survey in 201 5 discovered that 74% of Californians oppose sanctuary policies — including 71% of Democrats and 65% of Latinos.

Americans are tired of identity politics, tired of releasing criminal aliens back into the community, and tired of excuses by politicians who put political correctness ahead of public safety.

Sanctuary Cities Protect Gangs and Rapists, Not Legal Immigrants

 

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