MARCH 17, 2009
The mayor of an illegal immigrant sanctuary city has chastised the federal government for missing multiple opportunities to deport a previously convicted El Salvadoran who recently shot a police officer.
The irony is that the angry mayor presides over a major Texas city (Houston) that has long offered illegal aliens official sanctuary. In fact, the Houston Police Department has a policy—implemented nearly two decades ago—that forbids officers from inquiring about suspects’ immigration status. Houston also offers illegal immigrants the same taxpayer-financed public benefits and services afforded to legal residents.
Yet Houston Mayor Bill White said the federal government “let us down” for not deporting an illegal alien thug with a lengthy criminal record. The El Salvadoran, Wilfredo Joel Alfaro, had been arrested five times for possession and delivery of drugs and had served jail time for a felony drug conviction. After completing his prison sentence in 2001 Alfaro was deported but obviously reentered the U.S. illegally.
Last week Alfaro shot a Houston Police officer in the face during the execution of a drug search warrant in the city’s southeast area. The officer remains in critical condition and the illegal immigrant was fatally shot by other cops at the scene. The point remains that Alfaro should not have been in the country to commit this atrocious crime.
Cities like Houston obviously make it easier for violent illegal immigrant criminals like Alfaro to live in the U.S. Texas alone has about a dozen illegal immigrant sanctuary cities, including the state capital of Austin, Dallas, Houston and Ft. Worth. Every major U.S. state has at least a few illegal immigrant sanctuary cities with California, Texas and New York leading the way.
However, some have agreed to participate in a program to report violent criminals to federal authorities for deportation. Houston officials claim that’s what happened in this case but the government failed to act. In fact, since October 2006, the Houston Police Department has referred 420 suspected illegal immigrants with violent histories to the feds.
A local newspaper investigation last year found that federal authorities released thousands of illegal immigrants—many with violent criminal records and others ordered deported decades ago—from jails in the county (Harris) that includes Houston. Hundreds were convicted felons, including child molesters, rapists and drug dealers, who had previously avoided deportation after serving sentences in Harris County jail. More than 3,500 told authorities during the booking process that they were in the U.S. illegally.
The president of the Houston Police Officers’ Union says all the blame cannot be shifted to the federal government since municipalities that protect illegal aliens contribute greatly to the crisis. He asks his mayor to change Houston’s sanctuary status and to scrap the policy that forbids officers from reporting criminal illegal immigrants to federal authorities.
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