top of page

Sanctuary Cities Have Hurt Us. Again.

The bullet that killed Kate Steinle was shot from a gun being held by (or stepped on by, if you care to believe it) illegal immigrant Jose Ines Garcia Zarate. (Some media outlets call him an “undocumented” immigrant, but he’s undocumented because he’s illegal.) If Zarate had not been in the country, he wouldn’t have shot Kate Steinle, plain and simple. Whether it legally amounted to murder or another homicide is beside the point. She is dead because he was here.

Zarate should not have been here. He had been deported five times and been convicted seven times of felonies. Zarate “would not have been on the streets of San Francisco if the city simply honored an ICE detainer.”

Incredibly, despite the fact that Kate Steinle’s death is directly attributable to the facts that: (1) Zarate shot her and (2) he shouldn’t have been here in the first place, California continues to pass legislation placing all of us in more danger. Well, all of us except the illegal immigrants who directly benefit from California's choices.

The U.S. Department of Justice has now sued California over its legislation favoring illegal immigrants. The lawsuit argues that California's legislation directed at immigration interferes with federal immigration laws and hinders U.S. operations against illegal immigrants. This is contrary to the federal government's sweeping immigration authority.

Even Obama’s Justice Department comprehended the breadth of the federal government's immigration authority. The Obama DOJ brought a case in which the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately said that certain state immigration-related laws were invalid because they “either operated in areas solely controlled by federal policy, or they interfered with federal enforcement efforts.” Presumably Obama did not intend for this same case to be used to invalidate sanctuary city laws (which are a liberal cause), but it appears that may be its effect. We will watch with interest.

The argument that sanctuary policies make us less safe is not an abstract concept. These policies continue to have real, tangible, tragic consequences. In a recent fatal hit and run crash in Colorado, a pickup truck crashed into a semi truck, setting the semi on fire and killing its driver. Although the pickup truck driver fled the scene, law enforcement tracked him down at his house where they discovered, among other things, that he is in the United States illegally. ICE has issued a detainer yet the Sheriff’s Office there has already said that they will not honor it.

I cannot imagine the pain of Kate Steinle's family, or the semi truck driver’s family, in knowing that their loved one's killer should never have been here in the first place. Yet some law enforcement still refuse to honor the ICE detainers. I will never understand why protecting illegal aliens is a higher priority than protecting our own citizens. I cannot understand the mindset that sets or accepts those priorities.

These are two high-profile tragic examples of the consequences of sanctuary policies. There are countless others that anyone who is interested can see. The fact that we choose to ignore the cost of these policies to innocent citizens is incomprehensible to me.

As Sheriff, I will do everything lawfully within in my power to ensure that our community members are protected. For those that are here illegally and do no harm, you have nothing to fear. All others should beware. I love my community and am determined to keep it a place where we can live, work, and play in safety.

bottom of page