Illegal Cities

Following the July 1st random shooting of a tourist by an illegal alien, who had been previously released by the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department despite a detainer by Immigration, has raised the question “What is a sanctuary city?” Despite the political and legal wrangling by mayors and law enforcement officials in these cities, the answer is easy – it is an illegal defiance of Federal law.

The basic idea of a sanctuary city is that through local ordnance, municipal policy or simply looking the other way, municipal employees are prohibited from inquiring about an individual’s immigrations status while performing official duties. In theory, this practice removes a potential barrier for illegal immigrants looking to take advantage of municipal services, especially law enforcement protection. In other words, if it is known that police will not ask about immigration status, they will be more likely to report crimes. Other cities have taken this a step further by refusing to allow municipal funds to be used to enforce what they see as a failing federal immigration policy.

ImmigrationPersonally, I do not have a problem with local police looking the other way when it comes to victims and their legal status. In reality, this is not a practice limited to immigration. For as long as police have walked a beat, they have used discretion when turning a victim into a collar for any number of reasons.  I cannot say that I have a big problem with not requiring local officers to actively enforce immigration law in general either. I have worked in several large metropolitan areas where I encountered numerous likely illegals. At first, I thought I should thoroughly check each and every one of them and report those I suspected to be illegal. It did not take long before I realized I was fighting a losing battle; I can count on one hand the number of times I was successful in convincing an immigration official to actually follow up. For many cities, this could be a serious drain on resources and unnecessarily tie up officers.

But San Francisco took this a step further; a step too far. Not only have city officials declared San Francisco a sanctuary where citizens can report crime without fear of being deported, they have offered the same safety net to real criminals, even when their background and criminal status is widely known. This was the case with the shooter on July 1st, Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez​. Not only was he a career criminal who had been deported numerous times, but his status was made known to the Sheriff’s Department after he was turned over to them for prosecution on an outstanding drug charge- a charge the city later refused to prosecute. City officials could have, not should have, notified Immigration of his pending release. Immigration would have then taken custody of Sanchez and either deported him again or tried him for illegal entry, incarcerated him and then deported him. But that did not happen and Sanchez was free to commit additional crimes, including murder.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Tom Burrell

Tom Burrell

Tom enlisted in the US Marine Corps Reserves in 1987. Following service in Desert Storm, he transitioned to active duty with the US Coast Guard. In 1997 he left the USCG to pursue a position in conservation & maritime law enforcement. Tom is currently a Captain and he oversees several programs, including his agency investigation unit. He is also a training instructor in several areas including firearms, defensive tactics and first aid/CPR. In 2006 Tom received his Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Harrisburg Area Community College and in 2010 a Bachelor’s Degree from Penn State University.
Tom Burrell
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