‘The release of aliens previously convicted of crimes … will only rise now that sanctuary policies are state law…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) A Freedom of Information Act lawsuit on detainer requests for illegal immigrants in California not only revealed the shocking number of criminals released, but it also dispelled the common leftist narrative that President Donald Trump’s election triggered the current immigration clash.
The suit came from the Immigration Reform Law Institute, which asked U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to release the data for a 27-moth period from late 2015 to the end of 2017. In total, it said California law enforcement refused to cooperate with ICE 5,638 times during the span.
Nearly 40 percent of those refusals were for Level 1 requests, designated for the most dangerous criminal offenders.
The refusal to comply with the ICE request means that the criminals, rather than being remanded into the immigration agency’s custody, were released back into the community, where they were allowed to continue their crime sprees and pose additional risk to law-abiding citizens.
“The results of this investigation are disturbing, but also a wakeup call for Americans to demand more accountability from their anti-borders elected leaders,” said Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel of IRLI. “Sanctuary laws not only violate federal law; they put their residents and law enforcement officers in imminent danger that is preventable.”
The narrative of an organic ICE resistance began to emerge after Trump took office in January 2017, perhaps due in part to the Obama Administration’s efforts to suppress data revealing its sharp decline in deportations and its increase in the “catch and release” of illegals.
But the data showed that even under an administration that was soft on immigration enforcement, California already was deep into its resistance efforts.
Although California passed a state law, SB54, in October 2017, effectively codifying its designation as a non-compliant “sanctuary” state, a press release from IRLI said that the data in question came before the bill’s passage, meaning law enforcement agencies had no legal obligation to refuse ICE requests.
“It is logical to conclude that refusals of ICE detainer requests and the release of aliens previously convicted of crimes or have pending criminal charges from police custody will only rise now that sanctuary policies are state law in California,” IRLI said.
The refusal to honor the requests directly resulted in tragedies such as the death of Mexican national Javier Hernandez–Morales earlier this month.
Hernandez–Morales was shot after he opened fire on Napa County Deputy Sheriff Riley Jarecki during a routine traffic stop, attempting to shoot Jarecki at point-blank range before she returned fire, as her body camera revealed.
The data showed four detainer requests for Hernandez–Morales for battery on a peace officer, probation violations, driving under the influence and selling liquor to a minor. He already had been deported three times.
Although Jarecki averted tragedy by sheer luck, Irli said law-enforcement cooperation also could have averted the violent Christmas Day murder of Police Corporal Ronil Singh. ICE was never notified about the two previous DUI charges, nor the gang affiliation, of Singh’s killer, Mexican national Paulo Virgen Mendoza.
Of the seven other suspects arrested in connection with Singh’s death, who assisted Virgen Mendoza in his efforts to flee back to Mexico, at least six were illegal immigrants whom ICE placed detainers on after their arrests, IRLI said.
“How many more incidents like the death of Corporal Singh and the near-death encounter of Deputy Sheriff Jarecki must we endure before California and other states see the direct connection between sanctuary laws and violent crime?” asked Wilcox.
ICE does have some allies in the state, however. The California Sheriff’s Association came out in opposition to SB54, and Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens took the additional step of setting up an online database that ICE could reference to know who was being held, including the date and time of their release.