FEBRUARY 24, 2017
Sanctuary City Update: Arizona Sheriff Releases Hundreds of Criminal Illegal Aliens
Veteran Prosecuted for ‘Posting’ American Flag on Veteran’s Affairs Center Fence on Memorial Day
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A crackdown on dangerous sanctuary policies for illegal immigrants can’t come a moment too soon. As with our most recent court challenge to San Francisco, Judicial Watch has been a leader (and often the only) legal opponent to sanctuary policies that ignore federal and state laws concerning illegal immigration at the expense of the public’s safety, the rule of law, and our national security. Now, with a Trump administration that might actually join Judicial Watch in going after sanctuary policies, the radicals in “sanctuary cities” are doubling down.
Our Corruption Chronicles blog has the details of dangerous sanctuary craziness in Arizona:
An average of 400 “criminal illegal immigrants” are being released every 10 days by the newly elected sheriff in Arizona’s most populous county, federal law enforcement sources tell Judicial Watch, many of them violent offenders.
It’s part of Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone’s new policy to protect illegal aliens, even those who have committed serious state crimes, from deportation. Under a longtime partnership between the county and the feds, the Phoenix field office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was notified when “aliens unlawfully present with additional Arizona charges” were released from the Maricopa County Jail, which is one of the nation’s largest with a population of about 8,000. That ended when Penzone, who refers to illegal immigrants as “guests,” took office this year and, though he formally announced the change last week, it was put into practice much earlier.
During a recent 10-day period, more than 400 criminal illegal immigrants were released from the Maricopa County Jail, according to federal law enforcement officials directly involved in the process in Phoenix. Weekdays are the busiest, with an average of about 40 criminal illegal aliens getting released from Maricopa County Jail facilities, the sources said. On weekends the number drops to about 10 each day. The illegal aliens have state criminal charges ranging from misdemeanors to felonies, driving under the influence and drug offenses. “There’s no telling how many criminals he’s (Sheriff Penzone) putting on the streets,” said a high-ranking federal law enforcement official stationed in Arizona. Judicial Watch’s calls to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office were not returned.
Before the new sheriff changed the system, ICE would send a wagon every 12 hours to pick up criminal illegal aliens scheduled to be released from the main jail in Maricopa County. Under the new policy, Maricopa County officials are not giving ICE “any notification at all of the release of criminal illegals,” according to an agency official in Phoenix who’s not authorized to talk and can’t be identified. Without cooperation from county authorities, federal agents would have to stand at the door to the jail 24 hours a day and guess which prisoner should be deported, sources said. “We can’t stand out there and question everyone that walks out of that jail,” said a federal agent directly involved in the matter. “Even if we did, we would have to make arrests on the street, in the middle of protestors, families and picketers and that will only heighten the danger to agents.”
When Penzone announced the new policy at a press conference last week, ICE issued a statement calling it an “immediate, dangerous change.” The agency’s Phoenix director for enforcement and removal operations, Enrique Lucero, was quoted in local media saying: “Immigration detainers have been a successful enforcement tool to prevent the release of dangerous criminals to our streets and mitigate the possibility of future crimes being committed against the residents of our communities.” Judicial Watch has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to obtain specific figures and pertinent information related to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s policies involving criminal illegal aliens. “This is as bad as it gets,” said one federal officer.
Just this month an illegal immigrant released from the Denver County Jail in Colorado was arrested for murder. The Mexican national, Ever Valles, was released into the community in December even though he was a “known gang member” with a lengthy and violent criminal history. The 19-year-old gangbanger was arrested in October on multiple charges, including possession of a weapon and vehicle theft, and was flagged by ICE for removal. Instead, Denver County officials released Valles without notifying ICE, and this month he was arrested and charged with shooting a man to death during a robbery at a rail station in Denver.
The treatment of veterans in Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals is an inexplicable scandal. Now try to focus on this: the federal government, in all its might, is bringing criminal charges against a 74-year-old veteran for hanging an American flag on a fence. A 6 x 4 inch flag! On a Veterans Affairs fence! On Memorial Day!
We announced this week that we will provide legal representation to Robert L. Rosebrock, a Vietnam-era veteran who faces federal criminal charges for displaying two four by six inch American flags outside a Veterans Affairs fence on Memorial Day, May 30, 2016. Trial is scheduled to begin on March 7, 2017, in Los Angeles.
Rosebrock also is being criminally prosecuted for taking photographs on Memorial Day 2016, and on Sunday, June 12, 2016, without permission. The Memorial Day charge stems from photographs Rosebrock took of a Veterans Affairs police officer while the officer detained and cited him for displaying the two small flags outside the fence. Rosebrock also took photos of VA police detaining and handcuffing conservative activist Ted Hayes after Hayes displayed an American Flag above the same VA fence. Hayes, dressed as “Uncle Sam,” was not charged with any wrongdoing despite being detained and handcuffed.
The case, United States of America v. Robert L. Rosebrock, (CC11, 4920201; 4920202; 6593951), will be heard by U.S. Magistrate Judge Steve Kim in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. Judicial Watch attorney Sterling E. Norris, a former Los Angeles County deputy district attorney, and Los Angeles-based defense attorney Robert Patrick Sticht will represent Rosebrock.
The fence is part of the “Great Lawn Gate” entrance to the Los Angeles National Veterans Park, a public park on the corner of Wilshire and San Vincente Boulevards in the Brentwood area of Los Angeles. The gate and park are part of a larger, 388-acre parcel that includes the Veterans Home of West Los Angeles.
Rosebrock, along with fellow veterans, Hayes and others, have been assembling at the site nearly every Sunday and Memorial Day since March 9, 2008, to protest what they believe is the VA’s failure to make full use of the valuable West Los Angeles property for the benefit and care of veterans, particularly homeless veterans.
Deeded to the federal government in 1888 for the specific purpose of caring for disabled veterans, the property includes the veterans’ home, but also entirely unrelated uses such as a stadium for UCLA’s baseball team, an athletic complex for a nearby private prep school, a golf course, laundry facilities for a nearby Marriott hotel, storage and maintenance facilities for 20th Century Fox Television’s production sets, the Brentwood Theatre, soccer practice and match fields for a private girls’ soccer club, dog park, and a farmer’s market.
A hotel laundry!
VA officials previously told Rosebrock that a federal regulation allowed hanging the American Flag and POW/MIA flags on the “Great Lawn Gate” fence, and Rosebrock, Hayes and others hung as many as 30 full-size America flags at the fence at the same time without incident.
Rosebrock faces up to six months’ imprisonment if found guilty on any of the three charges.
The federal government’s pursuit of these vindictive charges against Mr. Rosebrock is mind-blowing. Why in the world would the feds prosecute a 74-year-old veteran over the placement of two small American flags at the entrance to a park honoring veterans on Memorial Day?
Frankly, President Trump should ask why the VA and his Justice Department are trying to jail this American patriot.
In a first for Judicial Watch, we broadcast for two days from the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington. Led by broadcast veteran Emily Miller and our own Jill Farrell, Director of Public Affairs, we interviewed numerous dignitaries, including Dr. Sebastian Gorka, deputy assistant to President Trump, and Sheriff David Clarke of Milwaukee County.
We were a major sponsor of CPAC this year. It was held at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, 201 Waterfront Street, National Harbor, MD.
This is an important engagement for your Judicial Watch. CPAC brings together thousands of attendees and the leading conservative organizations and speakers affecting conservative thought in the nation. Regularly seen on C-SPAN and other national news networks, CPAC has been the premiere event for any major elected official or public personality seeking to discuss issues of the day with conservatives. From presidents of the United States to college student leaders, CPAC has become the place to find our nation’s current and future leaders.
I was privileged to speak to the gathering, and I’ll be sharing those remarks with you later. Meantime, I invite you to visit our Facebook page, where you can see our team at work.