Don Rosenberg is the father of a young man who was killed by an illegal alien initially held on criminal charges by police, who chose to release the alien to the streets rather than into the hands of immigration agents who wanted to initiate proceedings to deport him. It was this failure that led to the son's death. It happened in San Francisco, that model of progressive thinking, which has more than once done this with similarly disastrous results to its innocent citizenry.
Rosenberg is among a distressingly large and diverse group of families who have faced similar tragedies. He is now the face of a public service announcement slamming sanctuary jurisdictions, and asking President Trump to make good on his campaign promise to halt federal funding for these jurisdictions.
Shortly after inauguration, the president did issue an executive order to that effect, but as he is coming to learn, executive orders are a lot easier to issue than to see put into action — in part because we live in an aggressively litigious society where progressivists and open-borders advocates have merged to speak with nearly one and the same voice; and in part because bureaucracies are somewhat like gigantic aircraft carriers: mighty and powerful, but disturbingly slow to turn about.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who had a great deal of experience with immigration matters in his prior job as a senator from Alabama, has worked diligently to overcome the litigation and press forward with his agenda to make good on the president's mandate to defund sanctuaries, where grant funding is made available via programs administered by the Department of Justice.
I wish I could say the same for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). On June 2, DHS published a press release saying this:
Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly today announced the release of Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 Notices of Funding Opportunity for 10 DHS preparedness grant programs totaling more than $1.6 billion. The grant programs provide funding to state, local, tribal, and territorial governments, as well as transportation authorities, nonprofit organizations, and the private sector, to improve the nation's readiness in preventing, protecting against, responding to, recovering from and mitigating terrorist attacks, major disasters and other emergencies. The grants reflect the Department's focus on funding for programs that address our nation's immediate security needs and ensure public safety in our communities. (Emphasis added.)
Unfortunately, those grants do nothing of the sort where public safety is concerned, because among the major recipients are a significant number of sanctuary jurisdictions that pride themselves on stiff-arming federal immigration enforcement efforts, and ignoring immigration detainers, including New York City, which to date has not honored one single detainer, even when serious criminals such as sex offenders are concerned.
It is ironic in the extreme that these jurisdictions are receiving millions of dollars in federal assistance via DHS, the federal organization primarily responsible for immigration enforcement. Take a look at the "Notices of Funding Opportunity and Allocations for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017: State and Local Preparedness Grant Programs", and then compare the locales (such as New York, San Francisco, and Chicago/Cook County) with sanctuaries mapped out by the Center; you'll see what I mean.
Now I'm sure that the august civil leaders in those jurisdictions will argue that terrorism is too serious a subject with too much peril attached for the federal government to withhold funds to jurisdictions that refuse to hold alien criminals — some felons, some petty offenders — at the request of federal immigration agents; in essence, that the two things are fundamentally separate and should be treated that way. Nonsense.
In the first place, consider that several of these jurisdictions have established (often, at local taxpayer expense) programs to defend illegal aliens and alien criminals in removal proceedings. Do they think that only "innocent" aliens (whatever that is supposed to mean, where criminal aliens are concerned) will be the happy beneficiaries of this largesse? Yes, I know that these funds will unlikely provide attorneys for aliens charged with terrorism offenses — but how do these officials know the aliens they provide representational funds for aren't involved in extremist groups, but have gone uncharged and undetected? It's not impossible to imagine, is it?
Which leads me to my second point: Arguing that there should be an official distinction between providing anti-terror funds and how a sanctuary jurisdiction treats aliens who are criminals is not only an artificial divide, it's foolhardy and contrary to the evidence. One need only look at the experience of countries all around the world to see that many of the most egregious terrorist attacks were committed by disturbed, rootless young men with a long history of brushes with the law, often for misdemeanors and petty offenses such as theft, drugs, public disturbances, minor assaults and batteries, etc. These are frequently the precursors to radicalization of the unassimilated. Denying federal agents access to these individuals for purposes of interview, arrest, processing, and removal does nothing to preserve the public safety or national security of our nation's most densely populated metropolitan areas.
Which leads me to my third and final point: In some sanctuary jurisdictions, the political leaders have taken leave of their senses to the point that they have vowed to create databases for provision of documents to illegal aliens that do not retain the key biographical data on which the provision of those documents depends. In some instances, they have said that they will delete the data in existing databases to deprive the federal government of access to the data, so that agents will not be able to determine an alien's immigration status. Do they think this only harms federal immigration agents, and not their own law enforcement officers in the pursuit of their public safety duties? Most assuredly it does and will — unless they're keeping double books, that is, which raises interesting legal and moral questions, too, doesn't it?
All in all, none of these things encourage me to believe that just because you are a mayor or council member of a major metropolitan area, you have any sense whatever of the real stakes involved for your citizenry unless, like some Europeans, you have simply resigned yourself to the inevitability of attacks with their attendant carnage on the innocent.
I haven't reached that jaded acceptance of nihilism and a culture of death, and I don't think that the federal government should either.
So why isn't DHS considering all of this in a holistic way, and making clear that it can and will link cooperation in immigration matters with provision of funds for its various state and local grant programs?