At the annual CPAC gathering, President Trump once again reiterated his battle cry to fight the “invasion” at our border and stop sanctuary cities from harboring the invasion in our communities. The problem is that while many of his proposals, such as building the complete wall, ending visa overstays, changing birthright citizenship, halting chain migration, and ending TPS amnesty seem to be dead, sanctuary cities are alive and well and harboring more dangerous criminals than ever.
With the growth of sanctuary cities, the two million illegal aliens who have been arrested for crimes (aside from breaking immigration law and identity theft) have been given a freer ride than even under Obama. Whereas Obama’s administration would at least deport many criminal aliens, the new sanctuary cities have gotten so radical that they will often release the worst criminals imaginable onto our streets without turning them over to ICE.
With an all-powerful federal government infringing upon so many state issues, where is this federal juggernaut when it comes to preventing states from stealing the sovereignty of the entire federal union, a power and duty that belong completely to the federal government?
Over the weekend, the Associated Press reported, “About 18 months after the Trump administration threatened to withhold law enforcement grants from nearly 30 places around the country it felt weren’t doing enough to work with federal immigration agents, all but one have received or been cleared to get the money.”
To be fair to Trump, Congress refused to address the slam-dunk political issue of sanctuary cities in any meaningful way, either in a sustained effort to pass stand-alone legislation or to strip sanctuaries of federal grants in a budget bill. Then again, Trump never threatened to veto a budget bill without provisions punishing sanctuary cities. Now, his only power is to use DOJ law enforcement grants to withhold funding for these cities, but thanks to the administration’s growing obsequiousness to the courts, sanctuaries are feeling no reprisal.
If the excuse from this administration is essentially that whatever the lower courts say is the law of the land, even if they overturn long-standing immigration statute, rooted in the very purpose of the creation of the federal government, then I fear there is no point to elections any more. At some point, this administration needs to push back against the lower courts in general and the notion that states are entitled to federal grant money in particular.
It’s truly astounding that Republicans refuse to pick a fight on this issue, given how dangerous sanctuary cities are. Transnational gangs and drug trafficking, which is fueling much of the urban violence in many cities like Chicago as well as killing tens of thousands with fentanyl and highly pure meth, are largely driven by illegal immigrants.
We don’t need other countries’ criminals when we have our own. Moreover, illegal alien crime is more preventable than any other crime. This is where immigration law, sovereignty, and the problem of sanctuaries come into play. Even if we can’t prevent every illegal alien from initially entering the country or overstaying a visa, the first time one is arrested for drunk driving, assault, or drug trafficking should be an immediate ticket to deportation.
Yet sanctuaries are refusing to turn over these gangbangers and drunk drivers. New York City refused to turn over numerous child sex offenders to ICE, as revealed by a recent operation by the feds to apprehend them. How many more have gotten away without ICE being able to locate them?
According to an investigation by the Immigration Reform Law Institute, California refused to honor 5,600 ICE detainers in only 27 months, from October 2015 through December 2017. Among those aliens subject to detainer requests were over 3,400 who were classified by ICE as threat levels 1 and 2, which include such crimes as homicide, kidnapping, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, drugs, burglary, and fraud. This doesn’t even include drunk driving, which kills many people daily.
Recently, there have been high-profile criminals in California who were previously released by local law enforcement after committing felonies. According to ICE, Javier Hernandez-Morales, who almost killed a sheriff’s deputy in Napa County two weeks ago, had four separate outstanding detainer requests after he was arrested for battery on a peace officer, probation violations, driving under the influence, and selling liquor to a minor, and he had re-entered the country three times after being deported.
Newman Police Corporal Ronil Singh was killed at Christmas by a Mexican illegal alien who had been arrested twice for DUI and was a known member of the Sureños gang. ICE was never notified. Singh’s death was 100 percent preventable. Tom Cotton has introduced a bill to mandate that localities turn over gang members to ICE. Don’t hold your breath waiting for McConnell to make Democrats take a tough vote on it.
The 5,600 ignored detainers in California are likely a fraction of the senseless crimes committed by people who can and should be removed from the country in a flash but are not, thanks to sanctuaries. ICE often has no way of even knowing how many criminal aliens are arrested and therefore can’t even issue detainers. California, home to roughly one-third of the nation’s illegal aliens, has essentially abolished bail for all but the most heinous crimes. As such, these people are out of custody before ICE can even ascertain their status or know about their arrest for a first offense, much less have time to apprehend them, even if they chose to go it alone without state cooperation.
This is what appears to have happened in New York City with Ramiro Gutierrez, the MS-13 member who committed a gang-style execution in broad daylight last month at a subway station. He was arrested by local authorities on December 11, but according to the New York Post, he was out on the streets before ICE could determine his immigration status because the judge purposely set bail at just $2,500, when the prosecutor asked for $100,000. Where ICE is not stymied by sanctuary politicians, it is stymied by sanctuary judges.
Sanctuaries kill. They take a pool of hundreds of thousands of criminals who can easily be removed from this country and place them back on the streets. Worse, even the ones ICE manages to apprehend and remove are incentivized to come back.
Why is the Trump administration not being more forceful on this issue beyond stump speeches? Well, the same reason why it gave up on ending catch-and-release, birthright citizenship policies, and TPS amnesty. It’s the same reason Trump appears to have abandoned the RAISE Act to place immigration levels more in line with our historical average and has already mentioned several times the need to increase immigration from its record-high baseline. There are too many people in this administration who do not share the vision of Trump’s campaign promises on the issue, and that begins with Trump’s own son-in-law. Immigration hawks thought they had finally gotten the home-field advantage in this White House, but they are still playing an away game.
Until more conservatives are willing to place the country before access to the Oval Office and actually use their voices to force a course correction, the swamp will continue to win on immigration. Sadly, because of sanctuary cities, more people will needlessly die by murder, DUI, gang activity, and drug trafficking until somebody in this administration pushes the president to stand up to the sanctuary judges engaging in civil disobedience against our laws.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.