If we’ve learned anything from the tragic killing of 32-year-old Kate Steinle — allegedly by Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, a seven-time felon who had been deported to Mexico five times — it is that there are two sets of standards for state and local governments that take parts of immigration policy into their own hands.
In the city of San Francisco’s case, that so-called “sanctuary city” policy backfired in a major way when Lopez-Sanchez admitted he went to San Francisco because city officials there would not turn him over to federal officials for deportation.
That prompted Alabama senior U.S. Senator Richard Shelby to condemn sanctuary cities last week in a letter to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
“Any violent crime is tragic, but the fact that the senseless death in San Francisco arose directly from a ‘sanctuary city’ deliberately obstructing policies to remove illegal immigrants who have committed crimes is appalling and inexcusable,” Shelby wrote. “I strongly believe that interfering with the routine coordination of federal law enforcement is intolerable and potentially deadly to law-abiding American families.”
He called on Lynch’s Justice Department to end taxpayer-funded federal grants to jurisdictions that do not follow federal immigration deportation policies.
“Municipalities that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration laws simply should not receive the Department of Justice’s assistance funding,” he added. “The freedoms we enjoy — like strolling on a San Francisco pier with our children — are possible only when we are willing to enforce the federal laws that keep our families and our freedoms safe.”
Other than a few gestures from legislators that probably won’t be followed up on by this White House, the backlash generated by this episode has been somewhat tempered. There have been some mouthpieces in conservative circles preaching to the choir and taking aim at the city, known as a bastion of hyper-liberalism, for the policy.
But it is nowhere near the level of what Alabama officials faced in 2011 after passage of what was known as the Beason-Hammon Alabama Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act, or Alabama HB 56.
The legislation itself was immediately very effective in that it discouraged those here illegally from seeking employment and utilizing taxpayer-funded public services.
But it also drew a lot of media scrutiny. Reporters from national news organizations like CNN and the Associated Press descended upon Alabama seeking hardship stories — Mexican restaurants having to close their doors, farmers too reliant upon cheap undocumented labor having to watch their crops wither on the vine and Alabama employers burdened with the high cost of screening employees to ensure they were legal.
It also provoked calls to boycott the state altogether.
But it wasn’t activism or the ginned-up public relations effort that led to the law’s demise. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals invalidated portions of the law and effectively killed what was demonized as the “show me your papers law.”
Not too much unlike HB 56, sanctuary-city policies involve local governments encroaching on the federal government jurisdiction. But our executive branch doesn’t seem all that concerned.
The Obama administration, with standing to sue cities like San Francisco that have sanctuary policies that contradict U.S. immigration law, has deflected questions about the murder of Kate Steinle.
This is the same White House that was quick to weigh in on the deaths of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Freddie Gray. But when White House press secretary Josh Earnest was confronted last week with a question about Steinle, he declined comment.
The lesson here is there’s not only a double standard when it comes to the law, but also to the value of human life. Apparently your stock goes up in the eyes of this administration based on Al Sharpton’s ability to rabble-rouse racial animosity.
In the wake of the Steinle tragedy, there is no movement by the national media to seek out sanctuary cities and examine crime trends. There are no calls to boycott businesses headquartered in San Francisco, which include a number of household names, such as Levi Strauss, Banana Republic, Old Navy and Wells Fargo.
It is a totally different standard. California can get away with things that Alabama cannot.
If only Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez were wearing a Confederate flag bandana on his head.
U.S. immigration policy is in dire need of some sort of reform. Unfortunately there are political and economic interest guiding the current movement. An unholy alliance of big business with a desire for cheap labor combined with the Democratic Party’s hopes they can grow their voter base with this entire new Hispanic immigrant demographic has left many Americans skeptical of the entire process.
But when the time comes to do so and the politics allow it to happen, the policy needs to eliminate any state and local government-imposed laws and compel the federal government to enforce that standard.
Sacrificing public safety for political correctness is not acceptable.
We need to think hard about what type of individuals are allowed into the country. It’s a buyer’s market for the United States when it comes to which immigrants should be allowed to settle here. We don’t need a “three strikes and you’re out” policy, but a “one strike and you’re out” policy.
While this reformation isn’t likely to happen at least until after the 2016 presidential election, I suspect some places will continue to try to enact their own form of immigration laws.
Alabamians who tried to handle the problem the best way they saw fit shouldn’t be remorseful, because no one died from that effort.