Americans have heard for years about sanctuary cities, counties, and states where law enforcement policies prohibit or impede cooperation with federal immigration authorities. More recently, there’s a whole new group of public officials that are putting illegal aliens ahead of public safety and the rule of law—sanctuary prosecutors.
Whether called district attorneys (“DAs”), state attorneys, or something else similar, locally-elected prosecutors and their assistants are supposed to represent the public in pursuing criminal charges. However, in some of these offices, properly punishing criminal defendants for endangering the community and for harming innocent victims can take a back seat to trying to protect those same defendants if they’re illegal aliens. Dismissing charges or pleading felonies down to misdemeanors has become routine if it could help an alien who has already been arrested for a crime-escape deportation.
In big sanctuary cities in the northeast, these policies are probably unsurprising. For example, in Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner followed the lead of Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez in hiring immigration attorneys to train hundreds of prosecutors in their offices to protect illegal aliens. In Suffolk County, Massachusetts, a memo written by DA Rachael Rollins instructed her staff “‘immediately notify [me]of ICE activity at Boston courthouses[.]”
However, these sanctuary prosecution policies are showing up in the heartland of the country, too. In St. Paul, Minnesota, Ramsey County Attorney John Choi directed his staff to consider how plea deals and sentencings might affect a defendant’s immigration status. Moreover, he too hired an immigration attorney to help him understand the ramifications of prosecuting illegal aliens, and to train junior prosecutors.
And in Nueces County, Texas, where Corpus Christi is the county seat, the sheriff–who had signed a 287(g) agreement to specifically work with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)–was completely unaware for six months that DA Mark Gonzalez implemented new policies to ignore or dismiss the felony charges of illegal aliens.
Policies like these go so far towards giving illegal aliens special privileges that even in a sanctuary county like Denver DA Beth McCann wondered why an illegal alien would be treated better than an American citizen. She raises a good question. How could it possibly be fair to sentence citizens committing the same crimes more harshly than people who don’t even have the right to be here? Doesn’t this even fly in the face of the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of Equal Protection?
Prosecutors are supposed to represent the community. Their role is to uphold the law and ensure lawbreakers are punished for their crimes while deterring others from committing crimes. They aren’t supposed to protect criminal aliens from deportation. If they abandon their role, criminal aliens are protected while their communities become less safe.