Lawmakers in King County, Wash., are considering a sanctuary policy that the county's own prosecutor says would shield dangerous criminal aliens from federal immigration enforcement.
According to the prosecutor's findings, the ordinance would direct local police departments to ignore requests from federal immigration authorities to detain dangerous illegal aliens, even if they have convictions for drive by shootings, assaults, gang intimidations, unlawful possession of firearms, burglary, stalking, arson, bomb threats, drug manufacturing, hit and run, and animal cruelty, just to name a few examples. The prosecutor's office explained that "essentially a first offense conviction is not subject to an ICE Detainer under this policy, no matter what the crime." The memo listing 30 felony convictions that would be welcomed by Seattle lawmakers is available online.
Some lawmakers believe that illegal immigrants pose no threat and should not be handed over to federal immigration authorities until a resident is seriously harmed. The ordinance was drafted by council members Larry Gossett and Joe McDermott after pro-amnesty advocates complained that illegal aliens accused of so-called "low-level" crimes were being identified in local jails and handed over to ICE. Gossett reasoned that this basic enforcement of immigration law — a necessary component of sovereignty — is "not fair". In his opinion, an illegal alien should remain in his county until someone becomes victimized through a violent act. Victims of an illegal alien's identity theft, for example, are not important to Gossett. His goal would be to give criminality of this nature a pass.
But it turns out the effort to shield law-breaking illegal aliens from federal enforcement would protect not only those engaged in identity theft and Social Security fraud — crimes the average, working, non-violent illegal alien is engaged in — but would also wind up helping illegal aliens engaged in a number of felonies and gross misdemeanors listed in the prosecutor's memo.
This isn't the first time Washington State has moved to shield criminal aliens from law enforcement. In 2011, the state cut the maximum jail sentence for some crimes from one year to 364 days. The difference of one day means that federal statutes requiring the deportation of aliens who have committed a crime resulting in a jail sentence of one year or more (i.e. a felony/gross misdemeanor) does not come into effect. The state's policy change means that an unknown number of aliens convicted of crimes ranging from theft to harassment to use of dangerous weapons to reckless endangerment are now happily living in Washington knowing that they do not fact deportation.
If this new effort becomes law it will be clear, once again, that King County politicians are putting the interests of foreign criminals ahead of public safety.