The Nihilism of Sanctuary Cities

There are an estimated 300 or so jurisdictions -- entire states, counties, cities, and municipalities -- that since the early 1980s have enacted “sanctuary city” laws, forbidding full enforcement of federal immigration law within their jurisdictions.

Most of these entities are controlled by Democrats in general and liberals in particular. Sanctuary officials feel that federal enforcement of the southern border is either unnecessary or immoral, and thus they have decided that there is no real crime in entering and residing in the United States unlawfully. While the majority of illegal aliens are no doubt law-abiding and have avoided public dependence, the pool of unlawful immigrants is so large at over 11 million that even small percentages of lawbreakers can translate into hundreds of thousands of criminal aliens.

The liberal Migration Policy Institute conceded that there are over 800,000 illegal aliens with criminal records, nearly 700,000 of them with felony arrest records.

Those numbers, of course, reflect only those who have been arrested and faced trial, not the unknown number who have committed crimes without being apprehended or charged. In some sanctuary cities, lawlessness among undocumented immigrants has reached epidemic proportions.

Heather Mac Donald of the Manhattan Institute found that two-thirds of all outstanding felony warrants in the city of Los Angeles involved illegal aliens -- as well as 95% of outstanding murder warrants.

Sanctuary cities are on record as having released over 10,000 known criminal aliens into the general population whom Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents were attempting to deport. In addition, hundreds of thousands of criminals are currently protected from deportation as they await trials and sentences. Among them, most infamously, is Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, a seven-time convicted felon and five-time deported illegal alien who was not turned over to ICE by the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department that held him in custody on a drug charge. He was instead released just weeks before he murdered Kate Steinle.

juan-francisco-lopez-sanchez-kate-steinle-7-19-15-1 In this July 7, 2015 AP file photo, Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez is lead into a the courtroom for arraignment. More than 1,800 immigrants that the federal government wanted to deport were nevertheless released from local jails and later re-arrested for various crimes, according to a government report released last year. Lopez-Sanchez pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and other charges in the death of Kate Steinle, 32.

The apparent principle of sanctuary cities is akin to roulette. The odds suggest that most illegal aliens detained by officials are not career felons and thus supposedly need not be turned over to ICE for deportation. On the chance that some of their 10,000 released criminals will go on to commit further crimes in the manner of Juan Lopez-Sanchez, officials then shrug that the public outcry will be episodic and quickly die down, or will at least not pose political problems as great as would come from deporting aliens.