Democrats Running Scared from ‘Sanctuary City’ Policies

asylum seekers
Laura Lean - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Democrats are abandoning their defense of sanctuary cities in the wake of the recent shooting death of 32-year-old Kathryn Steinle on San Francisco’s Pier 14 by an illegal alien and convicted felon who was released by local authorities.

In fact, Democrats now appear to be at a point where they “will say anything to distance themselves from sanctuary city policies.”

While the media debate Donald Trump and his remarks about Mexicans, Democrats are backing away from the policies that led to Steinle’s murder–along with similar crimes elsewhere. Several cities in California are reportedly reconsidering their policies.

San Francisco Chronicle columnist Debra Saunders writes that Hillary Clinton signaled Democrats’ shift on July 7 when asked about San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi’s refusal to hand Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for deportation.

Clinton said, “The city made a mistake not to deport someone that the federal government strongly felt should be deported. So I have absolutely no support for a city that ignores the strong evidence that should be acted on.”

This is a 180-degree shift from Clinton’s earlier support of sanctuary city policies.

For example, in 2007 Clinton told the late Tim Russert that she did not believe there as was “any choice” but to abide by sanctuary policies. Without them, she suggested, immigrants might not talk to police for fear that they’re “going to be enforcing the immigration laws.’”

Moreover, in 2008 “Clinton voted against an amendment to yank some federal funds from sanctuary cities.”

Conservative Republicans have criticized “sanctuary cities” for years. In March, according to the Washington Times, Representative Rick Mulvaney (R-SC) asked ICE director Sarah Saldaña “if it would help if Congress made it mandatory for local governments to cooperate with ICE”–i.e., if it would help to pass the very kind of bill Clinton voted against in 2008. Saldaña responded with, “Thank you. Amen. Yes.”

Saunders leaves readers with this final take on sanctuary cities:

Where is the common sense in shielding repeat felons and border jumpers from the consequences of their crimes? There is no need to look outside the city: San Francisco screwed up. Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, the Board of Supervisors and the mayor were so busy crowing about their pro-immigrant credentials, and refusing to differentiate between legal and undocumented, that they forgot voters elect them to keep this city safe.

Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.