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lift the shield for criminals in sanctuary cities

Published January 09. 2017 01:49PM

With Republicans ready to assume the power in both the legislative and executive branches of government, many conservatives are buoyed by the promises of president-elect Donald Trump to secure our borders and of the prospects of a Republican Congress to pass a law banning sanctuary cities.

While Trump vowed during the campaign to remove criminal illegal aliens from the U.S. immediately and to get a law passed banning sanctuary cities, liberal opposition is lining up, including Democrat mayors in New York City, Seattle, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Providence.

In San Francisco, Mayor Ed Lee has vowed that "San Francisco will never be anything other than a sanctuary city" and that "being a sanctuary city is in our DNA."

San Francisco's rampant crime rate includes the murder of Kate Steinle, who was shot in the back 18 months ago by Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, an illegal immigrant from Mexico who had previously been deported on five different occasions.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who has promised that "Chicago always will be a sanctuary city," is another staunch opponent of any anti-sanctuary city legislation. After Republicans swept to victory last November, he assured all, including illegal aliens, that they were safe, secure and supported in Chicago.

This comes from the mayor overseeing a city with one of the most massive and deadly crime/murder rates on record.

Other, more sane-minded government leaders have warned how bad things have become. Last June, Rep. Brian Babin of Texas told the Washington Free Beacon that a crime wave, fueled by illegal immigration, was sweeping major American cities, but that details about the crime spree were being hidden from Congress and the public by the administration in Washington.

Babin reported that at least 86,000 illegal aliens were roaming American streets and that they had committed 231,000 serious crimes across the nation in the last 30 months. He added that if the public knew about this, there would be total outrage. He also accused the Democratic administration of doing nothing to deport illegal aliens once they are freed from U.S. prisons, pointing out that 20,000 criminal alien convicts, including rapists, sex offenders and about 200 murderers, were freed from prison in 2015, but were not deported.

California, Texas and Arizona registered the most crimes due to these criminal illegal aliens. In Texas, drugs, sex offenses, and assault were the top three offenses for which illegal aliens were incarcerated.

Two Pennsylvania lawmakers have been at the forefront of anti-Sanctuary City legislation. Last year, U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey introduced legislation that would withhold certain federal funds from sanctuary cities. The Stop Dangerous Sanctuary Cities Act received bipartisan support on the Senate floor in July. Sens. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, and Joe Donnelly, D-Indiana, joined Republicans in voting to move the bill forward.

And just last week, Congressman Lou Barletta introduced the Mobilizing Against Sanctuary Cities Act, (House Resolution 83), which will stop all federal funds from flowing to states or localities which resist or ban enforcement of federal immigration laws, or refuse to cooperate with immigration officials. This marks the third time Barletta has introduced the measure. In 2011, it was the first piece of legislation he ever introduced as a member of Congress. He introduced it a second time last year in the 114th Congress.

Barletta explained that one of the principal duties of the government is to protect its citizens, and the idea of sanctuary cities runs completely counter to that vow. He added that too many mayors and local governments think that they are above federal law and have placed their own ideology ahead of the safety of their residents.

His bill authorizes the attorney general to compile an annual list of cities and issue a report on any particular state or locality upon request from a member of Congress. A state or local government would only regain federal funding eligibility after the attorney general certifies that its laws and policies are in compliance with the federal immigration statutes. In short, if you refuse to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement, you lose federal funding.

Barletta felt that in his two earlier attempts at such legislation, Congress did not have the political will to carry through, but once the Trump administration assumes control of the executive branch on Jan. 20, immigration policy is expected to tighten. Barletta said last week that this is the most optimistic he's been since becoming a congressman in 2011.

Many other Americans feel the same and that defunding sanctuary cities will help prevent an undocumented illegal alien from having the opportunity to carry out another Kate Steinle-type murder.

By JIM ZBICK | tneditor@tnonline.com

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