The Silenced Voices of the Sanctuary Debate

Of the many voices weighing in on the deployment of an estimated 100 specially-trained Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers to cities nationwide, there was one voice that directly addressed the real consequences and costs of sanctuary cities. Speaking before a gathering at a White House border security event on Friday, Daria Ortiz told the story of her grandmother, Maria Fuentes, a 92-year-old who was raped and murdered in New York City last month by a criminal illegal alien.

“The tragedy in all of [her grandmother’s murder]is that this could have been avoided had there been no sanctuary law. The tragedy is that my grandmother will never be here again. The man that is responsible for this should have never had the opportunity to do this, had his multiple offenses not been ignored. The system not only failed our family, it failed our city,” said Ortiz.

The brutal slaying, which FAIR covered in January, was committed by an illegal immigrant from Guyana who had been in NYPD custody on charges of beating his own father. But authorities acting in accordance with New York City’s sanctuary policies put him back on the streets, thereby presenting another criminal with the opportunity to re-offend.

As Ortiz noted, her grandmother immigrated to America from the Dominican Republic legally and worked multiple jobs so she could provide her family with a better life. Conversely, her murderer came illegally and continued to break laws. But it was criminal aliens that sanctuary politicians in New York City have sought to protect. And these policies continue to protect deportable criminals by refusing to provide Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) with information about them.

ICE has been forced to subpoena the city for that information and details about three other criminal aliens who are or were in NYPD custody. Still, New York resists in favor of the criminal aliens. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called the suit “political” and it does not appear the city will produce the requested documents unless ordered to do so by a judge.

While sanctuary jurisdictions say they want ICE to focus on apprehending criminal aliens, they still block access to information about most criminal aliens. This obstruction has resulted in the Justice Department and ICE resorting to suing jurisdictions, including San Diego County, the state of Connecticut, and the city of Denver. It also has led to ICE requesting support from tactical agents from Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) as it carries out enforcement actions nationwide, including in Chicago, Detroit and Boston.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Acting Secretary Chad Wolf told reporter Greta van Susteren, “Instead of having one officer go into jail setting, they release that individual and we need one or two officers, need more resources to go into community.”

So, from February through May, CBP and ICE will cooperate to remove criminal aliens, many of whom are recidivists or have final orders of removal, from the streets and neighborhoods of jurisdictions that shield them from the law. There will be plenty of opposition heard, but it is not likely that sanctuary politicians or the media will take time to listen to the words of those who pay the price for their dangerous sanctuary policies.

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