This article first appeared in Eagle Rising.
In 2008, Jamiel Shaw, a high school football star, was gunned down on a street near his home in Los Angles for no reason by an illegal alien gang member who had just been released from LA County Jail. That same year in San Francisco, Anthony Bologna and two of his sons were shot and killed by an illegal alien gang member who had just been released from jail. Both LA and San Francisco were then-and are now- so-called sanctuary cities.
Lesson learned for LA and San Francisco? Not on your life. Both cities have proudly continued their sanctuary city status and have advertised it as such. They have refused to cooperate with federal immigration authorities in turning over illegal alien criminals to ICE for deportation. When these criminals are done with the local court system or jail, they are simply released onto the streets.
Now comes Kate Steinle, gunned down on a pier in San Francisco by Francisco Sanchez for no reason. Sanchez is an illegal alien from Mexico with a 2-page rap sheet who has been deported five times. At the time of the slaying, he had been released by the San Francisco County Sheriff's Office ignoring a request to turn him over to ICE.
Finally, at least, this situation is getting national attention. There are over 300 municipal, county and state entities that are sanctuaries for illegal alien criminals who have been arrested. San Francisco, for one, is not repentant. Their mayor, sheriff, and city council have arrogantly stood their ground and defended the policy. The sheriff has chosen to place the blame on ICE. Even if ICE is at least partly to blame in this case, it is clear that something fell tragically through the cracks, and someone needs to be held accountable.
When I was a DEA agent working in Los Angles from 1978- 1982, I was in a group called the Southeast Asian Heroin Task Force. Aside from DEA agents, we had a couple of LAPD officers, a Sheriff's deputy and an Immigration agent. We pooled our intelligence and resources to combat trafficking of heroin from Thailand. That, of course, involved members of the Thai community and many of those traffickers were in the country illegally, having overstayed their visas. Our group was an example of how federal, state and local agencies should work together.
This is what needs to be done here. The local cops know who the gang members and criminals are, and ICE can tell who is in the country illegally. In the case of a foreign national being arrested, it becomes clear very quickly if the person is in the country illegally. That means ICE should be notified. They then show up at the jail and process the person and put an immigration hold on him. That means when the locals are done with the person, ICE must be notified and they must respond and pick him up for deportation proceedings. I saw it work back in the old days, and it is not complicated.
"But Fouse", you say. "They just come right back in. Look at Francisco Sanchez."
Correct, but that is where Bill O'Reilly's suggested Kate's Law would come in. Any person who has been deported and who has been found to be in the country illegally again is subject to a five-year prison sentence. Would I give that sentence to the desperate farm worker trying to feed his family? Of course not, but for those charged with crimes while in the US I sure would-on top of whatever other sentence they get for their crime.
It's called deterrence.
For cities to practice sanctuary policies flies in the face of federal law-just like the states that legalize marijuana. That means that officials can be prosecuted for violating federal law. It also means that federal funding for sanctuary cities should stop. Of course, the problem now is that the Obama administration is not interested in putting that kind of pressure on. Hillary Clinton? She has already tied herself in knots, criticizing San Francisco during her recent CNN interview after which, one of her campaign staffers immediately "clarified" her remarks.
The Steinle case has, rightfully, caused a nationwide outrage. It has also re-opened the old scars of the Shaw and Bologna families. San Francisco and its callous officials are a disgrace. It is time to demand that the practice of sanctuary cities cease. It is one thing to turn a blind eye to the workers standing in front of a Home Depot or working in a car wash. It is true that we can't deport 11 million people, and those who are working and living quietly are not the priority. The priorities are closing the border so that number doesn't double in 20 years while our interior resources should be focused on those who are committing crimes.