County Supervisors Ignore Danger of Sanctuary Policy at Others’ Peril



The brutal stabbing spree on November 22 that resulted in the deaths of man and a woman and the injuring of three more in San Jose, California, was a preventable tragedy. Were it not for Santa Clara County’s policy of non-cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), two individuals who sought shelter from the cold at Grace Baptist Church might be alive today.

Public and law enforcement officials know it all too well.

“How many more incidents have to occur before there is a change in policy?” asked San Jose Police Chief Eddie Garcia during a Nov. 25 press conference. Also at the press conference was San Hose Mayor Sam Liccardo who joined Garcia in calling for changes to be made to Santa Clara County’s sanctuary policies.

“I cannot understand why a defendant with multiple prior convictions for domestic violence was released, without bail, on a new domestic violence arrest this June over the strong objections of our District Attorney,” said a frustrated mayor. “Changes in our criminal justice system have not made our communities safer, this pendulum has swung too far,” declared Liccardo.

The frustration expressed by both is understandable considering Fernando De Jesus Lopez-Garcia was a thrice-deported illegal alien with a criminal history that dates back nearly 15 years and features weapons, drugs and police battery charges.

According to an ICE release, the illegal alien’s most recent interaction with the judicial system came on June 9 when he was convicted in a San Joaquin Superior Court for spousal abuse and sentenced to 327 days in jail. Several weeks later ICE requested Santa Clara County Jail officials turn him over, but the jail failed to honor the detainer.

Lopez-Garcia was permitted to leave police custody after a June 29 arraignment on domestic violence charges and even remained free despite the cancellation of his supervised release due to failure to appear at a mandatory court hearing. ICE was never notified of his release.

The press conference in which Garcia and Liccardo asked for an open discussion about the policies was a non-starter and a stunt in the eyes of politicians blinded by their own open borders biases.

“This sort of popped up out of the blue with [Garcia and Liccardo] — basically trying to take advantage of a horrific double-murder, trying to promote their political agenda, which has been talked about, numerous, numerous, numerous times,” argued County Executive Jeff Smith. The sanctuary policy would not be “talked about” so often if innocent people did not continue to lose their lives because of the protection given to criminal aliens.

The fact is Lopez-Garcia allegedly stabbed two people to death, in part, because the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors in June 2019 voted 5-0 to maintain the county’s policy of non-cooperation with ICE. A public discussion of the sanctuary policy and the subsequent vote were prompted by the brutal murder of Bambi Larson by an illegal alien who had multiple felony convictions, deportations and was on probation at the time of the murder.

Carlos Arevalo-Carranz, a 24-year-old illegal alien, was free to kill Larson in her own home in February 2019 because Los Angeles and Santa Clara counties had ignored a combined nine detainer requests.

The decision which drew stern criticism from the San Jose Police Association. Paul Kelly, president of San Jose Police union, railed against the supervisors voting without consideration of the impact of treating criminals of any immigration status with grave seriousness.

“If we have custody of a rapist, there should be a call. If we have custody of a violent gang murder, there should be a call,” Kelly remarked last year.

In the wake of Larson’s death, San Jose Chief Garcia stressed that he was calling for scrutiny of the sanctuary law not due to politics but as an official tasked with protecting residents regardless of their immigration status.

“He could have been turned over six times,” Garcia said before telling reporters that the otherwise law-abiding illegal aliens did not want criminals on their streets. 

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Jennifer joined FAIR as Web Content Writer in 2017 and brings to the role extensive communications and media background. She began her career as a policy research analyst on multiple national and state political campaigns before entering journalism. In addition to spending over a decade writing for several broadcast and print news outlets, Jennifer directed communications strategy for a member of Congress and a military nonprofit.