JUNE 15, 2011
To honor local sanctuary policies the top law enforcement official in a major U.S. county is releasing jailed illegal immigrants, including those flagged by federal authorities for deportation.San Francisco Sheriff Michael Hennessey began freeing illegal alien prisoners a few weeks ago to protest against a federal program (Secure Communities) that requires local authorities to check the immigration status of arrestees. The idea is to deport dangerous criminals, many of whom have fallen through the cracks over the years.Last month Hennessey, California’s longest-serving sheriff, announced that he would ignore federal detainer orders on illegal immigrants arrested for low-level crimes such as shoplifting, disorderly conduct or public drunkenness. Under Secure Communities, arrestees identified as undocumented are held by local jails until Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials transfer them.But 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.Hennessy, who is an elected official, claims that all residents are equal and stresses that San Francisco is proud of its diversity and values the contributions of immigrants. “San Franciscohas always been a city of immigrants,” Hennessey said, adding that all civic leaders work hard to serve all residents regardless of immigration status.Notably absent in the rhetoric were cases in which violent criminals were protected by the sanctuary policies. For instance a few years ago a Salvadoran gang member with two felony convictions murdered a father and his two sons because he never got turned over to federal authorities for removal.Judicial Watch obtained California public records that revealed San Francisco authorities knew the triple murderer (Edwin Ramos) was an illegal immigrant and active member of a deadly street gang known as MS-13. The records also show that Ramos had been previously arrested on gang-related and weapons charges yet was released under the county’s sanctuary policies.
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