Local Politicians (Not Obama) Creating Sanctuary Cities in Middle America

Immigrants walk handcuffed after illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border and being caught by the U.S. Border Patrol on December 7, 2015 near Rio Grande City, Texas. Border Patrol agents continue to capture hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants, even as the total numbers of those crossing has gone down. (Photo …
John Moore/Getty Images

It’s not news that the Obama administration has been deporting fewer and fewer criminal aliens each year, but it’s your local sheriff, mayor and city council who are turning thousands loose into the community before federal immigration officials even get a chance to deport them.

And I don’t mean in San Francisco and Chicago. It is probably happening in your state as well.

Under new rules adopted by Obama’s Department of Homeland Security in November of 2014, only the most violent criminal aliens are subject to a deportation hearing, not every convicted felon. Illegal aliens who merely commit non-violent crimes like burglary, auto theft and multiple DUI’s are not deported. They are free to continue their life of crime—until  they DO commit a violent crime, and even then it’s not a sure thing.

Are your state legislators, local mayors, city councilmen and county commissioners complaining and lobbying for a change? Not likely. With some exceptions, local officials are either hiding from the problem or actively supporting Sanctuary City policies.

Yes, it is true the Obama administration has supported and advocated sanctuary city policies. But local officials have joined that parade and some are leading it.

This is happening not only in liberal-left fortresses like Los Angeles, New York and Atlanta. Add Denver, Las Vegas, and Miami to the list—along with Red State urban centers including Dallas and Tucson, and four counties in Nebraska. Four entire states are considered Sanctuary States—Connecticut, California, New Mexico and Colorado, where every single one of its 64 counties now refuses to honor ICE detainers.

There are two separate problems with the release of criminal aliens, one federal and one local:

  • There are over 900,000 illegal aliens in the country who have had their day in court and have been issued a Final Order of Deportation — but not apprehended.
  • They are criminals and if arrested for another crime, the federal immigration enforcement agency, “ICE,” will send a detainer request to the local jail asking the person be held for pickup by ICE. Sanctuary cities are refusing to honor that request.
  • But even if in ICE custody, tens of thousands of criminal aliens are released and not deported because they are not violent felons.

The release of criminal aliens by local officials who refuse to honor ICE detainers is the second problem.

  • From January 2014 through June of 2015, a period of only 18 months, 17,000 criminal aliens were released by local law enforcement officials who declined to hold the individual for 48 hours until ICE could pick them up.
  • One-fourth of them were previously convicted felons.
  • 1,900 of them were rearrested 4,300 times within that 18-month period.

If you ask your local sheriff or police chief how many of over 6,000 re-arrests of criminal aliens in 2014-2015 happened in your city or county, they won’t be able to tell you. Why? Because local officials do not want to keep track of those arrests. If they had that data it might get out to the public and then they might be held accountable for the new crimes committed by the released criminals. So, better to not to collect data in the first place.

In one state, Colorado, over 3,000 criminal aliens were released from custody in 2014 instead of being deported, but no law enforcement agency in the state can tell you how many crimes have been committed by those individuals since their release. But Colorado is not unique: The same is true in every state from Maine to California.

How did this happen? Why are criminal aliens being released despite detainer requests to hold them sent to jails by ICE? Keep in mind that we are talking about NEW crimes against the criminal code, not offenses against immigration law.

A new report released this past week by the Center for Immigration Studies has this to say:

The problem is that recalcitrant state legislatures and city and county councils have erected barriers to such cooperation. Likewise, many sheriffs and police chiefs have adopted rules that render the jobs of federal agents much more difficult by refusing to honor immigration detainers and declining to notify agents of arrests or the release dates of aliens.

Why do state legislators and local officials erect such barriers to cooperation? The short answer is political pressure on local officials from anti-deportation organizations — and the lack of offsetting pressure from law-abiding citizens who are kept in the dark about the consequences of sanctuary policies.

If you believe the problem is only a consequence of Obama’s policies, consider the life and death of the “Secure Communities Program” (SCP) operated by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) from 2008 to 2014.

  • Obama killed program because it was too successful, and no state legislature or governor protested his action.
  • The SCP required that for every single arrest resulting in a jail booking, the finger prints of the arrestee had to be sent to BOTH the FBI and ICE to be checked against its list of illegal aliens. The local jail was then notified of finger print matches – but local law enforcement had the option to ignore the information or to act on it.
  • But even that very permissive, flexible program was too much for local open borders advocates, so they lobbied the Obama administration to kill it—and local law enforcement did not object to its political assassination.

Even today, despite the broad public disgust with permissive policies toward illegal immigration and the criminal aliens among them, many state legislatures are cooperating with Obama’s attack on immigration enforcement.

  • States legislatures from Colorado to New Jersey are considering enacting new state laws imitating the California statutes to prohibit local sheriffs from cooperating with ICE by honoring detainer requests.
  • It’s not enough that local sheriffs can decide on their own to refuse cooperation with ICE detainers. Anti-deportation activists want to deprive them of that option.
  • If they succeed, sanctuary cities will be replaced by sanctuary states.

Folks, we can’t blame all of this insanity on Barack Obama. A sanctuary city is not a federal animal. It is purely a local creation. Obama could not have succeeded in destroying immigration enforcement without the cooperation and connivance of spineless local government leaders and law enforcement officials. Locally elected officials who turn a blind eye to the release of thousands of criminal aliens who might have been deported think they will suffer no consequences for their actions. And so far, they are right.

How long will this continue? Obama will be gone in eleven months, but your local co-conspirators will still be there.


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