As the U.S. Senate considers a bill to slash funding for local governments that protect violent illegal immigrants, a new study reveals that hundreds of sanctuary cities nationwide released thousands of criminal aliens from jail rather than turn them over to federal authorities for deportation.
This proves that legislation to crack down on jurisdictions that obstruct enforcement of federal immigration law is long overdue. In fact, the measure was inspired by the summer murder of a San Francisco woman by an illegal immigrant with seven felony convictions and five deportation orders. Because San Francisco is an illegal alien sanctuary, local law enforcement officials don’t notify the feds about detainees who should be deported. Federal lawmakers want to send those municipalities a message, says the senator that introduced the measure, Stop Sanctuary Policies and Protect Americans Act.
If it passes federal funding will be withheld from sanctuary states or cities that fail to comply with Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued detainer requests for illegal aliens. The money would be redirected to states and localities that follow the law. “There is absolutely no reason that any U.S. city should be allowed to ignore our nation’s immigration laws and provide a safe harbor for illegal immigrants,” said Louisiana Senator David Vitter, in a statement introducing the measure this month. Illegal immigrants have committed other murders and terrible acts of violence across the U.S. since the San Francisco incident that drew national attention, Vitter said.
That’s because in less than a year 340 sanctuary cities, counties and states around the U.S. released 9,295 alien offenders that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was seeking to deport. More than half had significant prior criminal histories and 600 were released at least twice by jurisdictions that protect criminal aliens from deportation by refusing to comply with ICE detainers. The figures were made public recently by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), a nonprofit dedicated to researching the consequences of legal and illegal immigration into the United States.
Of the illegal immigrants released into unsuspecting communities, 58% had prior felony charges or convictions and 37% had serious prior misdemeanor charges, the CIS probe found. An astounding 2,320 of the freed offenders were subsequently arrested within the eight-month time period studied for new crimes. Here’s an enraging example included in the CIS document: Victor Aureliano Hernandez Ramirez, arrested in July 2015 for raping and bludgeoning a 64-year-old California woman who died eight days later. Ramirez had been arrested for battery a year earlier but the county sheriff blew off an ICE detainer that would have deported him in accordance with California’s state sanctuary law.
Once these criminal illegal aliens are freed by sanctuary cities, ICE has difficulty tracking them down, according to records obtained for the study. As of last year, 6,460 (69%) were still at large. Of those still at large, 1,377 (20%) had another criminal arrest following the one that resulted in the original ICE detainer. This is why a violent criminal, Francisco Javier Chavez, is on the loose. In August 2015 he was arrested for beating his girlfriend’s 2-year-old daughter and, despite an extensive criminal record that includes felony drug and drunk-driving convictions, a California sheriff’s department ignored an ICE detainer and released him.
California is the biggest offender when it comes to blowing off federal orders to hand over criminal illegal aliens, according to ICE records cited in the study. A chart offers a breakdown of the cities and counties that release the largest amount of criminal aliens identified by the feds for removal. Santa Clara County takes the prize with 1,349 for 2014 followed by Los Angeles and Alameda counties with 572 each. Miami Dade County in south Florida came in fourth with 491. “We need to send a loud and clear message to any sanctuary cities that their dangerous policies are not acceptable,” Senator Vitter said.