Katie Pavlich: Barack Obama’s sanctuary country for criminal aliens

Katie Pavlich: Barack Obama’s sanctuary country for criminal aliens
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The debate over illegal immigration erupted again recently after 32-year-old Kathryn Steinle was shot and killed allegedly by seven-time felon and five-time deportee criminal alien Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez in San Francisco. During a jailhouse interview, Lopez-Sanchez said he chose San Francisco to take advantage of sanctuary city policies in order to avoid Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Before Steinle’s killing, ICE issued an arrest detainer for Lopez-Sanchez to the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department. That detainer was refused and Lopez-Sanchez was released. 

The White House is refusing to comment on the case, despite the national debate surrounding the issue and the federal implications of Steinle’s death. 

“For this particular case I’d refer you to [the Department of Homeland Security]. I can’t speak to the particulars of this specific case,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said at a press briefing last week.

The White House and President Obama himself were more than willing to comment on the particular, local cases of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Freddie Gray, even before all of the facts were known. Apparently, Kathryn Steinle doesn’t look enough like one of his daughters for Obama to give a damn. 

Instead, the White House is focused on blaming Republicans for failing to comply with the president’s open-border, lawless illegal immigration agenda. 

“I would say, and it bears repeating in this case, that these efforts would be significantly augmented had Republicans not blocked comprehensive immigration reform. You’ll recall that the piece of legislation that was blocked by Republicans in the House of Representatives actually included the biggest ever increase in border security,” Earnest said during last week’s briefing. “The fact is that the president has done everything within his power to make sure that we are focusing our law enforcement resources on criminals and those who pose a threat to public safety. And it’s because of the political efforts of Republicans that we have not been able to make the kind of investment that we’d like to make in securing our border and keeping our community safe.”

The White House is berating Republicans for failing to pass the Gang of Eight’s 2013 legislation, a bill that would have protected sanctuary cities thanks to an amendment from Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinSunday Shows Preview: Emmanuel Macron talks ahead of state dinner CIA declassifies memo on nominee's handling of interrogation tapes Senate panel punts Mueller protection bill to next week MORE (D-Calif.). In other words, passing Obama’s preferred illegal immigration overhaul would have done nothing to prevent Steinle’s killing because it would have allowed criminal aliens to stay in the country and emboldened city politicians to keep dangerous sanctuary policies in place. Further, the legislation did nothing to boost interior enforcement or impact the criminal alien problem prevalent in cities around the country. 

“We aren’t even scratching the surface on the criminal illegal alien problem in the United States,” ICE union President Chris Crane said during a phone call with reporters in 2013 when the Gang of Eight legislation was being introduced and debated on Capitol Hill. “There are people coming here for this to be a land of opportunity and there are people coming here because the United States for them is a target of opportunity. We believe there is a very disproportionate number of criminals coming into the United States. That conversation is almost completely absent from this entire public conversation about what’s happening.”

“It’s just another part of this debate that gives us this concern that this is all about politics and not about really fixing the problems that we face within our broken immigration system,” he continued, “and providing for what is best for everyone is best for America to include and, most importantly, public safety.”

The Obama administration claims resources are being focused on felons, not families, but the opposite is true. 

In 2013 the Department of Homeland Security released 36,007 criminal aliens with convictions of murder, rape, assault and more onto American streets. In 2014, the DHS did it again by releasing 30,558 criminal aliens into local communities. These criminal aliens aren’t just living in sanctuary cities, they’re living everywhere thanks to a lack of interior enforcement passed down by the White House through executive orders. 

To make matters worse, in 2014 the administration ended the Secure Communities program, which allowed ICE to efficiently track and deport violent criminal aliens hiding in local communities around the country. 

The man identified as Steinle’s killer didn’t “slip through the cracks.” He was allowed to stay under the protection of liberal, sanctuary city policies backed federally by an open border administration. There are tens of thousands like Lopez-Sanchez living in the United States and, sadly, Kathryn Steinle’s killing was not an isolated incident. There are dozens of American families with similar stories. 

The lawlessness must end. American lives depend on it.


Pavlich is editor for Townhall.com and a Fox News contributor.