Can Kate's Law succeed in Congress?
The American left’s contemptuous disregard for laws it doesn’t like is metastasizing. Despite the public outrage that attended the murder of Kate Steinle by Juan Francsico Lopez-Sanchez, a seven-time convicted felon who had been deported five times, the number of illegal alien protection centers known as sanctuary cities has increased. The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) reports the number of these law-obstructing entities has grown to 340, compared to only 276 identified as recently as last July. CIS’s analysis is based on new information released by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that covers the months of January through September of 2014.
It gets worse. As CIS reveals, a whopping 9,295 alien offenders that ICE was seeking to deport were released on the streets of America, including more than 600 people released at least twice. Moreover, 5,947 or 62 percent of these criminal aliens "had significant prior criminal histories or other public safety concerns even before the arrest that led to a detainer,” CIS states. Those histories included 58 percent with prior felony charges or conviction, 37 percent with serious prior misdemeanor charges, and 5 percent with multiple prior misdemeanors. Adding insult to injury, 2,320 of those released were arrested for new crimes committed during the same time frame.
Unsurprisingly, ICE was not able to re-apprehend the overwhelming majority of offenders released by the sanctuary cities with 6,460, or 69 percent, remaining at large.
CIS director Jessica Vaughn was infuriated. "Our elected officials must not continue to sit back and watch these sanctuary jurisdictions release thousands and thousands of deportable criminal aliens back into our communities in defiance of ICE efforts to deport them, and then witness the harm that inevitably ensues when these removable offenders strike again," she said. "There is no more obvious immigration issue on which Congress could act now than to rein in this obstruction of a vital law enforcement mission that keeps our communities safer.”
Senate Republicans are attempting to do just that. Legislation introduced by Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) aims to restrict federal funds and grants to cities that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration officials. The bill would also establish a mandatory five-year sentence for illegal aliens convicted of re-entering the U.S. following a felony conviction, raise the sentence for re-entering the nation twice from two to five years, and establish a maximum punishment of 10 years in jail for immigrants still in America after being removed three or more times.
“Three months ago, Kate Steinle was murdered in San Francisco by an illegal immigrant who should have never been walking the streets in the first place,” Vitter said Wednesday. "In the time since Ms. Steinle’s death, we have seen similar murders and other terrible acts of violence against law abiding citizens across the United States – it is outrageous that the policies allowing these crimes to happen have not changed. We need to send a loud and clear message to any sanctuary cities that their dangerous policies are not acceptable.”
The murder of Kate Steinle exposed the bankruptcy of the Obama administration, the Democratic Party and a corrupt media for whom the rule of law is only sacred when it aligns itself with the progressive agenda. When it doesn’t, all of them embrace the selective enforcement of the law that saw the Department of Justice sue states like Arizona, South Carolina, Utah and Alabama for attempting to enforce federal immigration law it conspicuously ignored. That would be the very same DOJ that has never filed a single lawsuit against any sanctuary city in open defiance of immigration law.
This blatant double-standard in favor of the progressive agenda is so despicable, that a certain level of mayhem, including murder, rape, child molestation and other heinous activity is viewed as a reasonable tradeoff for not only tolerating sanctuary cities, but apparently countenancing the aforementioned increase in the number of them.
If Republicans are genuinely serious about taking on sanctuary cities, it would be quite useful to add a critical element to this piece of legislation. A hint of what the element is was contained in a Politifact hit piece hammering Donald Trump for his assertion that “hundreds of thousands” of illegal aliens are going to state and federal penitentiaries. Politifact gave Ramiro Martinez, a pro-amnesty criminal justice professor at Northeastern University, a platform to insist that Trump’s assertion was "at best unsustainable or more likely pure fiction.”
In a sense Martinez is right, but Politifact was forced to admit why. "Turns out Homeland Security doesn’t regularly track the number of incarcerated illegal immigrants, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement Press Secretary Gillian Christensen,” the website revealed.
It is far worse than that. In her book "Adios, America!” Ann Coulter reveals the insidiousness of the federal government's effort to conceal this information from both Congress and the public. She reveals that in 2011, when Congress “expressly requested" data on immigrant crime, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) estimated there were approximately 351,000 incarcerated criminal aliens in the United States—before saying the state and local portions of that total were “partial.”
How partial? The GAO omitted counting: all legal immigrants in those prisons; convicted illegal aliens for whom the states did not submit federal reimbursement requests; prisoners whose country of birth could not be determined; immigrants who have been naturalized; children born to illegal immigrants on American soil (aka, anchor babies); immigrants without at least one felony or two misdemeanor convictions; immigration “detainees;” and former illegal aliens who committed crimes after being granted amnesty via the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act.
Coulter reaches an obvious conclusion. “Knowing how many criminals are immigrants might affect our opinion of our current immigration policies,” she writes.
So would part of a sanctuary city bill requiring the federal government to provide regular and public statistics on illegal aliens who commit crime. That particular addition to a bill virtually certain to be vetoed by Obama—if Congressional Democrats, along with some weak-kneed Republicans, don’t kill it first—would clarify the fault lines between members of our political ruling class still looking out for Americans, and those beholden to special interest groups more than willing to abide the “fundamental transformation of the United States”--into a sanctuary nation.
What may be the most critical election in modern history will occur less than 13 months from now. Americans need to know which politicians are willing to embrace American exceptionalism—or American decline.