California becomes a dream state for violent criminals.
Last week California legislators worked three shifts to pass SB 54, the sanctuary state bill, and other measures protecting those who violated U.S. immigration law. As they did so, a recent shooting in San Francisco recalled the murder of Kate Steinle in 2015.
Last December, immigration authorities detained Erick Garcia-Pineda, 18, who entered the United States illegally. According to an Associated Press report, Garcia-Pineda was released in April but slated for deportation, fitted with an ankle monitor, and required to check in with federal authorities.
Garcia-Pineda failed to show up for his August appointment and ICE could not find him. On August 11, Garcia-Pineda and Jesus Perez-Araujo, 24, stole a .38 Smith and Wesson revolver, along with ammunition for the weapon, from the car of San Francisco police officer Marvin Cabuntala.
On August 15, after robbing three people, the two illegals encountered Abel Esquivel, 24, a San Francisco native who volunteers at the Central American Resource Center. According to police, Garcia-Pineda shot Esquivel with the stolen gun and he died later in hospital. As police told NBC news, the same gun was used in two other shootings and five robberies.
At the time of Esquivel’s shooting, Garcia-Pineda was wearing the GPS ankle tracker. On August 19, ICE received a tampering alert and was unable to locate the fugitive. On September 3, the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department arrested Garcia-Pineda on a misdemeanor battery charge and duly removed the GPS tracking device from his ankle.
ICE requested that the department keep Garcia-Pineda in custody but the Sheriff’s Department ignored the federal agency and released the fugitive wanted for the shooting of Abel Esquivel. Also charged in the murder is Jesus Perez-Araujo, arrested in May for illegal possession of brass knuckles. ICE also requested that Perez-Araujo be detained but he duly gained release.
Lariza Dugan Cuadra, director of the Central American Resource Center, told reporters “we were shocked to hear the weapon belonged to a police officer.” That was also the case in the Steinle shooting in July, 2015.
ICE issued a detainer request for repeatedly deported felon José Inez García Zárate, also known as Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez. The San Francisco Sheriff ignored the request and released the Mexican national. On July 1, he gunned down Kate Steinle on a San Francisco pier.
That killing sparked widespread outrage but did not prompt California governor Jerry Brown to expand cooperation with federal immigration authorities. Another state official unmoved by Steinle’s murder was California’s Chief Justice, Tani Cantil-Sakauye. She accuses ICE officials of “stalking” illegals in courthouses, as though the immigration officers were the actual violators of the law.
Cantil-Sakauye was a nominee of governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, but friends of the actor-bodybuilder say that wife Maria Shriver, a prominent Democrat, actually made the judicial picks. Those include judge Helen Gweon, who holds forth in Sacramento.
In 2011 Saul Isidro-Aucencio and Francisco Delgado, Mexican nationals in the United States illegally, gunned down three American teenagers, including African American Jamir Miller, only 15 years old. Judge Gweon told Miller’s mother the case “has nothing to do with illegal aliens.”
In 2014, repeatedly deported Mexican national Luis Enriquez Monroy Bracamontes gunned down Sacramento County deputy Danny Oliver, detective Michael Davis and wounded motorist Anthony Holmes. In court, the murderer proclaimed, “I killed them cops,” but his case did not prompt governor Brown, Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye, or any prominent Democrat legislator to call for more cooperation with federal immigration officials.
When the story broke that Erick Garcia-Pineda had been slated for deportation and released from custody, the California legislature was passing SB 54, the sanctuary state bill authored by senate boss Kevin de León, previously known as Kevin Alexander Leon. The bill had supposedly been softened to meet the requirements of governor Jerry Brown, but the final form has yet to be made public and Brown has yet to sign the measure.
Brown has a record of sheltering violent criminals such as Dennis Banks, and the governor has endorsed attorney general Xavier Becerra, one of the most strident anti-Trump reactionaries, in his court fight against the feds. The sanctuary state bill is hardly California’s only new law protecting illegals, so a ballpark figure for the number of violent criminal illegals the state will hand over to federal authorities is zero.
Meanwhile, Democrats are not the only ones soft on violent criminals, illegal and otherwise. One of governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s closest collaborators was leftist Democrat Fabian Núñez. His son Esteban was involved in the fatal stabbing of college student Luis Santos and sentenced to 16 years for manslaughter, avoiding a possible life sentence for murder.
On his last day in office, governor Schwarzenegger reduced the sentence to seven years, a favor for his Democrat pal. Judge Lloyd Connelly called the governor’s action “distasteful and repugnant,” kind of like giving sanctuary to violent criminals who murder innocent people on the streets of San Francisco.