Judicial Watch • Sheriff Works To Protect Illegal Immigrants

Sheriff Works To Protect Illegal Immigrants

Sheriff Works To Protect Illegal Immigrants

SEPTEMBER 03, 2010

The top law enforcement official in a major U.S. county is vigorously working to withdraw from a federal program that checks criminals’ immigration status because it violates the area’s sanctuary policies.

San Francisco Sheriff Michael Hennessey, who operates the county jails, has for months tried to bail on a program (Secure Communities) that requires local authorities to check the fingerprints of arrestees against a federal database. The idea is to deport dangerous criminals, many of whom have fallen through the cracks over the years.

But the veteran elected sheriff says the arrangement violates San Francisco’s longtime sanctuary law, which forbids public employees and police from asking anyone about their immigration status. The famously liberal city by the bay also offers illegal aliens official government identification cards and all sorts of taxpayer-financed public benefits.

The policies have protected violent criminals from deportation, including those who have been convicted of atrocious felonies. A few years ago a Salvadoran gang member with two felony convictions murdered a father and his two sons because San Francisco law enforcement agencies never turned him over to federal authorities for removal. Secure Communities was implemented nationwide in 2008 precisely to avoid situations like those.

Incredibly, the sheriff’s priority is to continue shielding illegal aliens from deportation even when they commit crimes in the community he’s been elected to protect. Earlier this year Hennessey formally requested that California’s attorney general exempt his agency from participating in Secure Communities and when the request was denied, he asked the feds directly.

In rejecting the exemption request California’s attorney general said that Secure Communities “serves both public safety and the interests of justice” because it “advances an important law enforcement function by identifying those individuals who are in the country illegally and who have a history of serious crimes or who have previously been deported.”


 

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