A Potential Sanctuary Train Wreck in the Offing

By Dan Cadman on February 18, 2020

I sense the possibility of a figurative train wreck on the tracks ahead, and if it happens it won't be pretty.

Barreling from the east you've got the revitalized Departments of Justice and Homeland Security (DOJ and DHS), each of which has recommitted to rolling back sanctuary policies geared toward sheltering alien criminals (see here, here, and here). And, as we've noted on these pages in recent weeks, U.S. Attorney General Barr has made clear in the toughest possible language that DOJ will no longer tolerate state or local government policies that impede federal enforcement efforts.

The most recent move by the federal government in this regard is the decision by DHS to detail Border Patrol agents to work with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in identifying and apprehending aliens who have been released by police despite the filing of detainers, and over the objections of ICE agents (see here and here). They will be working specifically in key sanctuary cities all over the country, including of course San Francisco, site of the infamous Kate Steinle killing.

From the west, you've got self-styled radical and newly minted San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, the prosecutor who has made clear that he won't, in fact, prosecute "quality of life" crimes that in San Francisco these days include such gems as public urination, leaving used syringes and condoms on city streets, and even a man defecating in the aisles of a chain grocery store during business hours, then cleaning up using toilet paper stolen from store shelves.

The thing about radicalism is that, like bad cheese or indifferent wine, it doesn't age well — something Boudin clearly hasn't absorbed along the way. He is the child of 1960s radicals who, unlike many of the progeny of such people, neither learned from nor rejected the cold-hearted leftist views they espoused, views that ended in prison sentences for robbery and murder. Rather, he seems to have a bizarre idealized notion of their transgressions. Typically and ironically, though, Boudin also has impeccable elitist credentials, including Ivy League degrees.

Boudin's most recent "Eureka!" moment has been to open a unit within his district attorney's office, which serves as the prosecutor for the entire city and county of San Francisco, whose twofold focus will be on 1) "protecting" deportable aliens from the reach of ICE; and 2) "investigating" ICE agents who go about doing their job of finding the alien criminals released by San Francisco police and sheriff's departments in defiance of federal immigration laws. Before becoming San Francisco's prosecutor-in-chief, Boudin was its public defender-in-chief. He seems to have conflated the job descriptions, which are inherently adversarial, to a remarkable degree.

The whole harebrained scheme falls squarely within the boundaries of what AG Barr just warned against, which is engaging in prosecutorial decisions and plea bargains made solely to put criminals out of bounds for removal purposes, rather than based on the circumstances of the crimes committed, not to mention going so far as to actively obstruct federal agents in the performance of their official duties.

This cannot end well, and my money won't be on Boudin. Rather, he may follow in the footsteps of his parents even more closely than he intends, and also end up in a federal lockdown somewhere.