Sanctuary Cities: Restricting Law Enforcement Risks Public Safety

Ted Hilton, San Diego Tribune, January 20, 2017

President Trump has informed the American people that an immediate priority for his administration will be to require sanctuary cities to cooperate with federal laws. An estimated 650 criminal offenders are released onto California’s streets every month in violation of the transfer request into federal custody. California denies almost two-thirds of the nation’s rejected alien detainer requests. To deter sanctuary jurisdictions from harboring convicted criminals, the Trump administration should require Immigration, Customs and Enforcement (ICE) to publish a weekly report of all released criminal aliens that will be a public record.

There are crucial reasons for state and local governments to allow law enforcement to fully cooperate with federal law. Sanctuary cities are magnets for previously deported aliens, gangs, drug traffickers, and other alien criminals who increase the crime rate.

An October 2014 report from ICE that was made public in 2015 detailed 276 sanctuary cities that released 8,145 illegal migrants of whom 1,867 were later arrested 4,298 times with multiple violations amounting to 7,491 charges. Illegal migrants are 3.5 percent of the U.S. population but are 37.6 percent of federal sentences and 13.6 percent of all offenders sentenced for crimes nationwide. The undocumented comprise 12 percent of murder sentences, 20 percent of kidnapping sentences and 16 percent of drug trafficking sentences. Unauthorized migrants are about 7 percent of the California population but over 12 percent of the state prison population.

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An IGS-UC Berkeley poll shows that 74 percent of Californians want sanctuary cities ended; 65 percent of Hispanics, 70 percent of independents, 73 percent of Democrats and 82 percent of Republicans. Recognizing strong public concern, California’s law enforcement organizations should speak out against being restricted from cooperating with federal authorities, and demand compliance to make our communities safer.

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