Don't let preference for immigrants undermine actual voters' interests

Don't let preference for immigrants undermine actual voters' interests
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In the chaotic world of politics one would be hard pressed to understand the motivations of the elected officials. Defining their loyalty as dedicated to those voters who enter the booth to cast a vote is becoming more difficult.

This voting constituency is becoming undermined by a much broader devotion to party loyalties, campaign contributors, media moguls and political ambitions. Is this broader dedication subverting their obligations to their voter constituency? Has this misguided dedication resulted in neglecting the citizens of their voting constituency while favoring the interests of their broader devotions?

The Sacramento Bee reported a couple months ago that, in defiance of the president, “California Gov. Jerry Brown used a Christmas holiday tradition to grant pardons Saturday to two men who were on the verge of being deported for committing crimes while in the U.S.”  

In her New York Times report, headlined “In Rebuke to Trump, Cuomo Pardons 18 Immigrants”, Vivian Wang reported that New York Governor “Andrew M. Cuomo … pardoned 18 immigrants in an effort to free them from the threat of deportation or other immigration-related issues.”

Jack Crowe reflected in “Incoming New Jersey Governor Wants to Create an Entire Agency to Protect Illegal Immigrants” for the Daily Signal:

“New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy plans to establish … a first-of-its-kind government agency devoted exclusively to protecting the rights of legal and illegal immigrants alike.”

Meanwhile, Paul Davis commenting for the Washington Times informs us:

“Across the Delaware River from New Jersey in Philadelphia, Larry Krasner, the recently elected Philadelphia district attorney, also has announced the creation of a new top position in his office that is solely dedicated to protecting the ‘rights’ of illegal immigrants.”

Last last month, SFGate reported: “Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf warned ... that the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement could be conducting an operation in the Bay Area in the next day or so.” It further stated “The purpose of the announcement, she said, was not to panic residents who could be in danger of being detained and deported, but to warn and protect them.”

Those alerted by Schaaf and were able to escape Immigration and Customs Enforcement included illegal immigrants convicted on charges of “unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor … sodomizing a drugged victim … armed robbery”, all of whom had been previously deported.

Three of the 800 illegal immigrants who escaped from the enforcement sweep in the San Francisco area, according to reports, “have already gone on to commit new crimes, notching charges of robbery, drunken driving and spousal abuse.”

Last year, according to NPR, the Brooklyn, NY, district attorney “instructed his staff … to consider a defendant's immigration status when negotiating plea deals for minor nonviolent offenses.

“Baltimore prosecutors recently received similar instructions. They were told to consider the collateral consequences of prosecuting immigrants for minor crimes. In California, a state law goes even further. It instructs prosecutors to consider the immigration status of defendants in plea negotiations regardless of whether it's a misdemeanor or felony.”

The consequences can be quite serious. In December, CNN reported that Jose Ines Garcia Zarate was acquitted of murder and involuntary manslaughter charges for a shooting resulting in the death of Kate Steinle in San Francisco: “Before the shooting, officials in San Francisco released Garcia Zarate from custody instead of turning him over to immigration authorities.”

The LA Times adds:

“Five times, (Zarate) was deported. Each time he returned. Among his criminal convictions … four felonies for possessing heroin and manufacturing narcotics. … He has also been charged numerous times with felonies for illegally entering the U.S. after being removed.”

Under the 14th Amendment, all U.S. persons are entitled to “equal protection of the laws.” The Law Dictionary gives us further insight into the meaning of protection by defining a protective order: “Also known as a restraining order that will protect an individual from another individuals actions.”  U.S. Legal further defines “An Order For Protection” as “…a court order that protects a victim…” From this, can we ask if it is the government’s responsibility to equally protect U.S. citizens from becoming victims by others individual actions?

What proportion of pardoning petitions accepted by the governors of New York and California favor illegal immigrants over citizens? Has this changed over time? Has the mayor of Oakland effectively conveyed greater rights on the illegal immigrants by protecting them from legal proceedings over her responsibility to protect the citizens of Oakland from becoming victims? Have the Philadelphia, Brooklyn, Baltimore and California DA’s bestowed upon illegal immigrants greater rights with an unequal tolerance for criminal activity over similar charges against their U.S. citizen constituents? Have they abandoned their obligation to protect their constituent victims from these illegal immigrant’s criminal activity?

We do know Kate Steinle would still have her dreams if these elected officials had acted within, rather than outside, the scope of their authority.

Has this misguided dedication resulted in neglecting the citizens of their voting constituency while favoring the interests of their broader devotions?

John M. DeMaggio is a retired Special Agent in Charge and retired Captain in the U.S. Navy. The above is the opinion of the author and is not meant to reflect the opinion of the U.S. Navy or the U.S. Government.