Democrats in Washington state will lose a critical investigative tool needed for apprehending dangerous criminals of all backgrounds in order to protect illegal alien criminals. To what lengths are sanctuary politicians willing to go in order to shield even the worst criminal aliens from detection? They are willing to burn down the rest of the criminal justice system and endanger all public safety if it means protecting just one more illegal alien sex offender or drunk driver.
Last week, KTTH, a conservative talk radio station in Seattle, reported that King County Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht abruptly pulled her agency out of an important law enforcement sharing tool for fear that ICE would see the information put on it.
The Law Enforcement Information Exchange (LInX) is a database of crime incident reporting used by over 2,000 local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies to share information about criminal events in a given area of operations. It is designed and operated by the U.S. Navy.
LInX is very useful to detectives seeking to find fugitives or crack a case because they can draw upon arrest information put on the system by other law enforcement agencies. For example, if one agency is looking for a fugitive sex offender and he is pulled over for a traffic stop by another police department, LInX would be one of the first ways the detective would discover the criminal he is looking for.
Well, the system is effective enough in catching fugitives that King County, Washington, law enforcement feared that continued use of the system would violate the county’s ordinance of not sharing any information on immigration status with ICE. So they are concerned about violating a local ordinance, but evidently have no concern about violating federal law.
According to KTTH, Undersheriff Scott Somers said in an email to employees that the department had no choice but to terminate its participation in LInX:
“We could not reach a solution that insured that the civil immigration functions would not have access, especially when viewed from a national level,” Somers said in the email. “We had no alternative other than to terminate our membership and information sharing with LInX. This included the removal of all of our information from their system. Agency access to LInX was cut off per the agreement.”
Federal law (8 U.S.C. 1373) prohibits state and local government from “in any way restrict[ing], any government entity or official from sending to, or receiving from, the Immigration and Naturalization Service information regarding the citizenship or immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of any individual.” 8 U.S.C. 1324 also prohibits individuals, whether in government or in advocacy groups, from encouraging, inducing, harboring, shielding from detection, or transporting illegal aliens in any way or attempting to do so.
Chris Hajec, director of litigation for the Immigration Reform Law Institute, told CR that this would be the classic paradigm of actively shielding an illegal alien from detection described in statute. “For example, if they used the database but did not upload to it to deny information to ICE, they would be shielding illegal aliens from detection.”
What is astounding here is how much King County officials are willing to endanger public safety in order to make a political statement on behalf of illegal aliens. By definition, anyone roped into LInX is going to be someone apprehended for a crime other than being here illegally. So not only are they unwilling to assist in deporting criminal aliens, they are willing to hamper efforts to solve criminal cases dealing even with American criminals. They are willing to burn down the entire system if that means criminal aliens get to stay.
“I cannot stress enough how cooperation with local law enforcement is an indispensable component of promoting public safety,” said ICE spokeswoman Tanya Roman in an audio statement to CR on Friday.
She further noted that much of this is driven by local politicians and is actually against the needs and wishes of their law enforcement agencies.
“It’s really unfortunate that current state policies and laws interfere with the mission of local law enforcement. These agencies want, and quite frankly, need to work with Homeland Security Investigations [HSI]. The decision by any law enforcement agency to withhold information from one another or to not seek as much information as they can is dangerous for the community. This type of decision makes law enforcement agencies less efficient, less effective, and ultimately the only people who lose in this politically motivated scenario is the public.”
Imagine for a moment if local law enforcement agencies played hide-the-ball with the FBI – would the Department of Justice tolerate that for a moment? Their violation of federal law in thwarting HSI should be no different.
The sanctuary issue has gotten so severe that many of these jurisdictions will not even cooperate with ICE regarding illegal alien child sex offenders. In June, King County released a man convicted of raping a disabled woman without notifying ICE so he could be removed. The Mexican national, Francisco Carranza-Ramirez, allegedly went straight to the victim’s home after serving just nine months in prison and almost killed her. He was never apprehended since then and is still a fugitive to this day.
The sanctuary problem has been growing ever year. According to the Federation for American Immigration Reform, the number of these jurisdictions has doubled since Trump took office and now stands at 564. Those districts collectively harbor about 68 percent of the estimated illegal aliens in this country. It’s quite evident that there is no way to effectively enforce immigration law until the feds get more aggressive with these states and counties. Raise your hand if you think that will be a priority when Congress returns next week.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.