Executive Director, Center for Immigration Studies
MARK KRIKORIAN: Good morning. My name is Mark Krikorian. I’m executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies.
You may have noticed that immigration came up in the news lately, and it’s kind of interesting that an issue like this issue of sanctuary cities and ICE’s relations with local law enforcement has been something that some people, especially the ones sitting at this table, have been working on for many years. It took the terrible murder of Kate Steinle in San Francisco, combined with the attentions of a billionaire reality show star, to get this issue on the national conversation in a way that it should have been a long time ago. It was just – was it last year where we had – there were two law enforcement officials in California killed by an illegal immigrant who should not have been in the country, who had been in custody and had been released, and this kind of thing has happened many times before. Better late than never, I suppose, as far as national attention goes.
And so we wanted to have this panel discussion to talk about some of these issues, specifically a report we’re releasing on this issue authored by one of the speakers. And the publication is out there, as well as some related publications.
We wanted to start by giving one of the congressional leaders on this issue a chance to talk about it. Lou Barletta is a congressman from Pennsylvania, and as mayor of Hazleton even before he came to Congress had been dealing with this issue of local law enforcement and the nexus with immigration enforcement. And actually some five years ago now – four years ago introduced legislation addressing the sanctuary cities issue, which now all kinds of people are magically discovering as though it hadn’t already always been there.
So Congressman Barletta will talk a little bit about the issue, about maybe his legislation or something that he might be introducing as well in the future, and we’ll take a couple questions for the congressman to respect his time because he has hearings to attend. And then we will have the rest of the panel give their discussion, give their talk. I’ll introduce them afterwards, but I want to let the congressman start off. Congressman Barletta?
REPRESENTATIVE LOU BARLETTA (R-PA): Thank you.
You know, this issue wasn’t something that I dreamt up while I was mayor. I experienced the problem of illegal immigration firsthand. And I think it’s more obvious in a small town like Hazleton, which was a population of 30,000, because you can see the changes in the community and how illegal immigration actually affects a city such as ours.
For example, the wait time in the emergency room grew to seven, eight, nine hours as illegal aliens are using the emergency room for primary health care.
Our population in Hazleton grew by 50 percent, which is a huge growth of a – of a city, but yet our tax revenue remained the same. So it became very difficult for us in trying to provide services to the people in the city without the revenue growth that was growing with the population. So it affects the quality of life in our city.
We began seeing crimes increase. And it was during the investigation of those crimes that we found out that we had a problem with illegal immigration. More times than not, in the investigation we found out that the person involved was in the country illegally.
I came down to Washington in December 2005, met with the Department of Justice to ask for help. I didn’t know how to deal with it as a small-town mayor. We had great meetings. They brought in all these experts to talk to me, and at the end of the day I got this nice coffee mug, I got a lapel pin, I got a pat on the back. (Laughter.) And the coffee mug is in my office in D.C. in case – I keep it with me as a reminder of the failure of the federal government.
And then May 10th, 2006, a day I’ll never forget. Derek Kichline, a 29-year-old father of three young children, while working on his pickup truck in Hazleton had some words with Pedro Cabrera. Pedro Cabrera was in the country illegally, arrested six times in New York cities and other cities before he came to Hazleton, New York City being another sanctuary city. Cabrera didn’t like what Kichline had to say – went into his car, got a gun, stuck it in Derek’s face, and shot and killed him, point blank.
We spent half of our yearly budget in overtime in the police department in finding and catching Cabrera and his buddy. Our police department worked 36 straight hours until we – until we got him.
I sat with Mr. and Mrs. Kichline and tried to answer the question as why was this man still in the country when he had been arrested before. Derek Kichline should have been alive today and Pedro Cabrera should not have been in the country had it not been for a sanctuary city not enforcing the law.
That began my crusade against sanctuary cities. I began speaking around Pennsylvania. And I remember going to central Pennsylvania at a town hall meeting, and at the end of the meeting a young couple came up to me and they said that they drove an hour to hear me speak. They wanted to tell me about their daughter. Her name was Carly Snyder. She was 20 years old, studying to be a veterinarian. Her next-door neighbor was in the country illegally from Honduras. He had been arrested in Houston prior to coming to Pennsylvania, another sanctuary city. The man broke into Carly’s house, as the father told me – a tear was coming down his cheek. He stabbed his daughter 37 times. Carly had knife wounds in the palms of her hand and she had knife wounds in her back as she bled to death on the kitchen floor. He told me that I’m speaking for Carly now, and that’s why he wanted to come to see me.
I can’t forget that. I can’t forget the time with Derek Kichline’s family and the story of Carly Snyder.
So I come to Washington and I – first thing I do is I introduce a bill, Mobilizing Against Sanctuary Cities. The bill would cut all funding – all funding, federal funding – to any city that declares itself a sanctuary city. See, I created the first law in the country on a municipal level dealing with illegal immigration, and I was sued by illegal aliens for doing so. The ACLU said that they would bankrupt our city if I didn’t back down, which I – which I didn’t. And it was hard for me to comprehend how a mayor is sued for wanting to enforce federal laws, and yet there are 200 mayors around the country who believe they are kings and will pick and choose what laws they will enforce.
Creating safe havens for illegal aliens to take the lives of others, like Kate Steinle, you know, how many murders, how many innocent people need to be murdered before we stop the don’t ask, don’t tell policies dealing with illegal immigration? And that’s what it really has become. See, when we talked about don’t ask, don’t tell, it always had a different meaning. But when we apply it to illegal immigration, many walk away. They don’t want to hear that.
And you know, as I relive the past of the Derek Kichlines and the Kate Steinles and the Carly Snyders, you know, I have to ask myself, doesn’t every life matter? Isn’t that what we’ve been told, that every life matters? I don’t believe the Steinle family saw anybody from the White House at their daughter’s funeral. What does it take until we finally stand up and protect the American people?
That’s what we have immigration laws for, to protect the American people and to protect American jobs. So I’m going to continue to pursue all that I can, not only with the bills that I’ve introduced – I reintroduced the bill again. And hopefully, unfortunately because of the attention that it’s gotten from what’s happened in San Francisco, that Congress will have the backbone to finally stand up and enforce the laws of the country.
So with that, I’m going to – I’ll stop, and –
MR. KRIKORIAN: Thank you, Congressman.
If there are any questions – I had a question myself, but –
Q: What do you think is the prospect of getting this law passed?
REP. BARLETTA: I think it’s probably better now than ever. There are – there are a number of – there are a few different sanctuary city bills. Mine cuts all funding. Being a former mayor and experience what it’s like to be a mayor, it has to have teeth in it. And the best way to do it to get a mayor’s attention is to cut all federal funding, because if it’s not tough enough – you know, there’s one thing Congress can do. We can yell and scream and, you know, get our names in the newspaper by things we want to say all the time, but what we can do – really can do is control the purse strings. We control the money. And if we really want to stop sanctuary cities, the law has to be tough and it has to be meaningful, that mayors will not even consider, you know, becoming a sanctuary city.
So I’m hoping now more than ever, and the best thing we can do is get our – my colleagues around the country to get on board, cosponsor the bill, and ask leadership to put it on the floor.
MR. KRIKORIAN: I had a question, Congressman. And you sort of – you may want to dance around the question; feel free if necessary. But why hasn’t leadership pushed this? In other words, why wasn’t this passed a week after the new Congress was sworn in?
REP. BARLETTA: You know, there’s a couple reasons, I believe, and I can’t say it’s one reason more than the other.
Number one, I’ve found – since I’m in Congress a short time; this is only my fifth year – but there’s been a reluctance to pass any type of immigration laws, any kind of immigration bills. I have a biometric entry and exit. You know, following the 9/11 commission report, it was clear they recommended to the Congress that we should have a biometric entry and exit so that we know who comes in and out of the country. Seems pretty simple. Everyone in Congress seems to want to secure the borders – Democrat, Republican, Senate and House. I don’t know why we haven’t. I don’t know why we need something more. That’s the lowest fruit on the tree, secure the borders. Everyone claims they want to do that. We can’t even do that, because when we start talking about securing the borders then there’s always a pathway to citizenship or there’s more to it. And so part of the reason is, is I believe there’s a lack of will to go forward with any type of immigration law.
Second is there’s also many who believe that any vehicle – immigration vehicle that we pass in the House will be used in the Senate as a vehicle for a pathway to citizenship or some other immigration law. So there’s been a real reluctance to move forward with any immigration laws.
Q: Congressman, do you think – thank you – (comes on mic) – do you think – so there’s over 11 million undocumented folks in the country. Obviously there’s not enough resources to be able to deport all of them, and not all of them are criminals who are killing individuals. So do you find yourself ever thinking about passing some sort of immigration reform so that we can weed out all the undocumented immigrants who are here to just do harm and who are felons? Because that way we’d be able to really take who is here and who is committing felonies and be able to get rid of them, and then deal with the other millions of individuals who aren’t committing felonies.
REP. BARLETTA: That’s a real good question, and it usually comes up all the time, is, well, what are we going to do with the 11 million? That’s usually how the conversations usually go, at least with me anyway, when people talk to me about it. And my answer is pretty clear, and maybe it’s not the answer people want to hear. But if we’re going to deal with this issue – and I believe there’s many more than 11 million. You know, where that number came from, nobody can count who’s here illegally because they don’t all stand up to be counted.
However, the first thing we need to do is secure the border so that that number doesn’t change, because as soon as you begin to have a conversation about what you’re going to do about the others that are here, you send a signal to people around the world that now is the time to come. If we talk about a pathway to citizenship and we’re just doing to deport those who committed crimes – and we know this for a fact, that people begin to flood the border to come into the United States before we secure the border. So I’m reluctant to say anything more than let’s secure the border first.
And that’s not only our southern border and northern border. Nearly 50 percent of the people that come into the country illegally, they don’t cross a border illegally. They come on a visa, and the visa expires, and then we can’t find them. So nearly half of the people that are here aren’t what we – you know, the picture in our mind, the perception of somebody running across the Mexican border into the United States isn’t really the case. In fact, that’s the preferred method of entry into the country by terrorists, is to come on a visa.
So my position on how to deal with illegal immigration is to secure the borders – airports, seaports. Enforce the laws we have. I don’t believe our immigration laws are broken. I believe we began to break the laws by not enforcing them, which creates the problem. So my answer is secure the border, enforce the laws that we have, and then we can then have the conversation on what we’re going to do with the people that are here. It’s not always the answer people want to hear, but I believe that’s the best way not to make a bad situation worse.
MR. KRIKORIAN: Yeah, let’s take two more. You and then you. Yeah, go ahead.
Q: Thank you. Brittany Hughes with CNS News.
I’ve looked into a number of cases in which an illegal alien was convicted of certain crimes. One of the most difficult things to do and one of the most time-consuming things to do in reporting these stories is to find out whether the individual was, in fact, illegally in this country. Should local, state and federal authorities be required to disclose whether or not an individual was illegally in the country when they are arrested for certain crimes? And if so, is that something that Congress can do or have any impact on?
REP. BARLETTA: I believe they should. You know, that’s a crime in itself. So I don’t believe government should cover up or hide any crime that a person has committed. I believe that the public has the right to know the status of that person if, in fact, they know that that person’s in the country illegally. Not to do so begins to open that door for a sanctuary city by hiding the immigration status of a person that has committed another crime. And I absolutely believe that that should be included if and so they know – in fact, they know that that person’s in the country illegally.
MR. KRIKORIAN: Yes.
Q: Yeah. Sean Higgins with the Washington Examiner.
This is in response to your statement earlier about the fear that if legislation is moved in the House that the Senate will do something differently. Is that just a fear, or can you point to instances where legislation was introduced and companion bill in the Senate or legislation in the Senate went off in some very different direction?
REP. BARLETTA: (Laughs.) Yeah, I’m a perfect example. I passed Protecting Volunteer Firefighters three times. It seems like a no-brainer. There was a question whether volunteer –
MR. KRIKORIAN: Is this a liability issue?
REP. BARLETTA: That’s OK. There was a question whether volunteer firefighters had to comply with the Affordable Care Act and be provided health insurance or pay a $3,000 fine because in the IRS Code, tax code, volunteer firefighters are listed as employees for federal tax purposes. So the question – that question came up, so I passed a law that would exempt volunteer firefighters because 87 percent of firefighters in America are volunteers, and we all know that that would close firehouses if they had to provide health insurance or pay a fine. The bill passed unanimously in the House, 417 to nothing.
Q: But I mean specific to anything introduced –
REP. BARLETTA: With immigration?
Q: – (off mic) – to legislation – I mean, to immigration, sorry.
REP. BARLETTA: To immigration? You know, I’m trying to think of what immigration bills we passed. There’s not a heck of a lot. And whether or not that fear is real or not I can’t say. I’m not one of those who is fearful of passing an immigration law because of that reason. But I can tell you there were members on the House side that feared that, that feared any type of immigration law would be used as a vehicle. So whether or not it’s a fear or reality, I can’t – I can’t confirm that.
Q: Congressman, what happened to the bill, the firemen – the firefighters bill?
¬REP. BARLETTA: It went over – it went over – it passed unanimously and went over to the Senate, and Harry Reid changed the name. My name of the bill was Protecting Volunteer Firefighters, name was. The new name of the bill was Extending Unemployment Compensation. (Laughter, laughs.) So Harry Reid – so then we took the Senate and I thought, well, this is great, I’ll pass it again. It passed unanimously the second time, went over to the Senate, and the bill became Funding the Department of Homeland Security. (Laughter.) So then I passed it a third time. I believe I set a record for the most bills passed in the House unanimously. (Laughter.) Not one person voted against it. It went to the Senate. Believe it or not, it was changed again, a third time. I just introduced it for the fourth time. I’m going for a world record. Lou Gehrig and Cal Ripken have nothing over the Protecting Volunteer Firefighters.
MR. KRIKORIAN: Thank you, Congressman. So, Congressman, you said you’ll be able to stay as long as you want –
REP. BARLETTA: I’ll stay as long as I can, sure.
MR. KRIKORIAN: – but feel free to – feel free to go when your duties call.
The rest of our panel will start with Jessica Vaughan, the director of policy studies at CIS who’s become the nation’s leading nongovernment expert on this nexus of immigration and local law enforcement. She authored a report that’s out there on – based on a Freedom of Information Act request on how many convicted criminals in a certain period of time that had been released. It’s not something – it’s not as though she requested this after Ms. Steinle’s death and the immigration service immediately and willingly sent us this information. It was more a chance issue that this had been requested some time ago and came through at an opportune – unfortunately opportune time.
After Jessica speaks, Dan Cadman will speak. He’s a fellow at the Center, 30-year veteran of INS and ICE, expert in not just the sort of mechanics of arresting people but also in the policy aspects of the issue, has worked sort of bottom and top in this issue of immigration enforcement. He has a couple of pieces of material out there, or at least the press releases on them – one on this explanation of the detainers issue, and then one an analysis of what is now called the Davis-Oliver Act – it was called the SAFE Act before – to tighten up immigration enforcement. By the way, Davis and Oliver are the two law enforcement people killed by an illegal alien who had been released by ICE in the recent past.
And then, last but not least, Sheriff Chuck Jenkins will speak. He’s the three-times-elected sheriff of Frederick County, Maryland, is a 25-year veteran of law enforcement, and has been working on this issue of trying to get more effective cooperation between local and federal immigration authorities for quite a while, and has become a national figure on this issue.
So we’ll start with Jessica, then Dan, then Sheriff Jenkins, and then we’ll open it up to questions. Jessica?
JESSICA VAUGHAN: Thank you. And thank you all for joining us this morning.
I think many people are familiar with the basic details of the Kate Steinle case in San Francisco, where a man who had racked up seven felony convictions, had actually been deported from the United States five times before, was finishing his sentence in federal prison for that crime of reentry after deportation. The feds turned him over to San Francisco because San Francisco asked for – there was an active warrant. They asked for him to be transferred to them so that they could prosecute him on a drug case, which they then dismissed the very next day. There was – ICE, you know, before turning him over, issued a detainer and said that we want this individual back because we intend to reinstate his prior order of removal to send him back to his home country. That detainer was ignored by policy. This was not a mistake, this was a policy that the San Francisco sheriff had to reject all ICE detainers. Four months later, he murdered Kate Steinle and has admitted to that.
ICE was doing its job in this instance. It may not have been the intent of San Francisco’s sanctuary policy to allow people like this to go back to the streets, people like Sanchez, but this was a predictable result of having such a policy that this could happen. Most people in law enforcement knew it was a likelihood. That’s why most of the California sheriffs lobbied very vigorously in opposition to a state law that was passed by the California legislature to limit their cooperation.
It was not an aberration. This report that I had obtained from ICE in a FOIA request, which is linked to – we have a copy of my FOIA response which is linked in my report, so anyone can read it and view it. ICE had been tracking these cases of local sanctuary jurisdictions rejecting their detainers and blocking cooperation. What we found – what ICE found is that, as of October 2014, there were 276 jurisdictions that they had identified within the country who had these – that had these policies. And in that time period of January 1st, 2014 to August 31st, 2014, there were more than 8,100 individuals that ICE was seeking to deport who were released as a result of local sanctuary policies.
And again, they knew what the – ICE knows very well what the consequences can be when these detainers are ignored.
In 2014, in Romeoville, Illinois, a man who had been released by Cook County, which also has one of the more extreme sanctuary policies – he did a 60-day stint in Cook County Jail for a domestic assault offense. Cook County ignored the ICE detainer, and not long after he killed a 15-year-old girl named Briana Valle and shot her mother in their driveway.
In 2011, something similar had happened in Albion, New York, a man who had been released out of bonding out for a burglary charge. ICE issued a detainer. It was ignored by the local jurisdiction. They released him back onto the streets. Soon after, stabbed and killed a 45-year-old woman named Kathleen Byham, who was shopping at Walmart that day.
So it’s not as if this was, you know, someone trying to dream up what the worst-case scenario theoretically might be. This has happened.
Two-thirds of the individuals out of the 8,100 who had been the subject of detainers, two-thirds of them already – actually 63 percent to be exact – already had a serious criminal history at the time that they were released by the sanctuary jurisdiction when ICE had issued a detainer for them. One thousand nine hundred of them subsequently were rearrested for yet a new crime after their release by the local authorities. Within just an eight-month period of this report, already about one-fourth of them had reoffended. What we don’t know is – because of the way ICE answered my request for the information, we don’t know exactly which of those 1,900 who committed another preventable crime, what their prior criminal history was. But we do know that 1,900 of them have committed another crime.
Only 28 percent of the total number of people who were released by the sanctuary jurisdictions have since been taken back into custody by ICE. It’s not that easy for them to just go out and rearrest someone that they know has been released in one of these places. In fact, even only 39 percent of the criminal recidivists – the 1,900, who have already committed other crimes – only 39 percent of those have been rearrested by ICE.
And this report – which, again, you can view – has six specific examples of things that have happened after release, crimes that have been committed. There was a child molester who went on to commit other sexual offenses against children. In San Francisco, there was somebody who had robbery and possession – narcotics possession charges, who then committed a violent rape. In Santa Clara, somebody who had theft and stolen-property charges went on to resist arrest, causing death or severe bodily injury to a law enforcement officer. So it’s not possible to predict what can happen, but the one thing that is common in all these cases is that ICE was seeking to deport them and the local jurisdiction rejected that request.
So where are these sanctuary cities? We’ve prepared a map which is now on our website where you can see all of the 276 jurisdictions that have been named by ICE as not cooperative, and there’s information on exactly what policy they had adopted that caused them to be on ICE’s list. And again, we were simply re-reporting ICE’s list. This was not based on any subjective judgments we made. This is what they’ve experienced.
The highest numbers are in Southern California in terms of the numbers of detainers that have been rejected. The five top sanctuary jurisdictions are Santa Clara County, which includes San Jose, California; Los Angeles County; Alameda County; San Diego County; and Miami-Dade County in Florida. In all 276 jurisdictions, there are some limitations on cooperation and some level of obstruction of what ICE is trying to do.
Why do they do this? I mean, no rational person would want to – you would think would want to release people that are – you know, are likely to go on to commit other crimes. But I think it’s important to understand that most of these sanctuary policies do not originate with the law enforcement agency. This is not mainstream law enforcement practice in any way, shape or form. They’re usually imposed by elected officials in these places.
In many cases, it’s because they have been told by advocacy groups that if they cooperate with the federal government on immigration enforcement that immigrants in their communities will lose trust in law enforcement and be afraid to report crimes. This is nonsense, absolute nonsense. It is just an excuse for having a sanctuary policy for political reasons. There is absolutely no evidence in government data, law enforcement data, even the academic research on this question that supports this notion of what they call a chilling effect on crime reporting. I’ve studied this for years, read all the literature on it. There have been a number of studies. Not only is there no evidence that this happens, there are a number of studies that refute it, including one good study done by the University of Virginia on Prince William County, Virginia. There are individual law enforcement agencies that have studied their crime reporting data and found the same thing, that there is no chilling effect or reduction in crime reporting that happens in places that cooperate with ICE.
I’ve looked at the data in Boston and Los Angeles – oh, and we – Mark is reminding me, the data I’ve summarized in a fact sheet that I put together recently, which is also in your packet, called “Immigration Enforcement and Community Policing.”
There simply is no decline in crime reporting that happens as a result of cooperation. Victims and witnesses are not targets for immigration enforcement. There may be problems with this perception now, but blocking the enforcement of federal laws is not going to help overcome any problems of trust. There are much better ways to do it that have been successfully adopted in many law enforcement agencies across the country.
The solution here really ideally would be for state and local jurisdictions to end their sanctuary policies. That’s not going to happen on its own. In fact, yesterday DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson testified before the House Judiciary Committee. He’s going around trying to persuade some of these sanctuary jurisdictions to end their sanctuary status and cooperate through this new watered-down enforcement program they have called the Priority Enforcement Program, which I think some of my – the other panelists are going to address more directly. Already there are five out of the top 50 jurisdictions in the country that are saying no, we’re not doing that. So obviously, you know, people aren’t – these jurisdictions aren’t going to do it on their own. The federal government, we know, is not going to sue them, even though they would have grounds to do so, many of us believe.
So it’s up to Congress, really, to take the initiative and address this problem by, first of all, clarifying in federal law that the expectation is that local jurisdictions may not obstruct, must cooperate with ICE when it is seeking the deportation of someone, or there will be sanctions such as Mr. Barletta has proposed to cut off funding to those jurisdictions that are not compliant. Money talks, you’re absolutely right. I agree 100 percent. So this is something really that falls squarely on Congress to address, and we’ll have to wait and see what happens. But that’s the most likely solution to this problem.
MR. KRIKORIAN: Thank you, Jessica.
DAN CADMAN: Good morning.
The focus of today’s panel is obviously on state and local governments that have, whether they choose to acknowledge it or not, created a sanctuary zone within their respective jurisdictions, most often by refusing to honor immigration detainers filed against aliens who are arrested by police and sheriff’s offices for crimes both serious and small. But sanctuary in many of these places goes far beyond detainer policies and often implicates how their entire organs of government interact with federal authorities on immigration matters generally, on everything from crime to social service benefits, to health, to education. Often, these sanctuary governments inhibit or downright prohibit their employees from exchanging information or communicating with immigration officials. In some places they not only don’t honor detainers, they go so far as to deny immigration agents full access to their detention facilities simply in order to interview inmates suspected of being deportable aliens.
If we were to try and come up with a definition of sanctuary with that broader concept in mind, it might be this: any law, ordinance, rule, regulation, policy or operating procedure that by intent or by effect inhibits, impedes or obstructs federal immigration officials from performing their duties. I want to say that I dislike, and frankly intensely dislike, use of the word “sanctuary” to describe these policies, and that’s because the phrase had noble beginnings going back to the far reaches of time when the church was one of the few protections and restraining forces against the absolute monarchy. People who were egregiously wronged by the king could literally seek sanctuary in the sanctum of a church and be outside the king’s reach. But it’s important to remember that even with the church in those times, it exercised ecclesiastical powers every bit as powerful as those of the king, and it went beyond simply the ability to excommunicate. People who violated God’s laws, which were in many cases indistinguishable from the king’s laws – think the Ten Commandments here – faced corporal punishment, fines or imprisonment by the church just as surely as from the king. There was no easy escape for criminals and malefactors who sought to abuse the notion of sanctuary. And what is happening now vis-à-vis state and local sanctuary governments is something different entirely. It seems to me more accurate by far to say that what they are doing is harboring and shielding illegal aliens, criminal aliens in the context of this panel, and they’re shielding them and harboring them from the possibility of arrest by federal officers who are charged by law with detecting and apprehending them.
Ironically, in viewing some of the many reactions and responses from police and law enforcement agencies to the map that CIS has posted – which, as Jessica has made clear, was prepared from materials provided by ICE – even as these officials balk at being called sanctuary sites and demand to be removed from the map, I’ve noted that many of them then go on to outline exactly the kinds of policies that do, in fact, prove that they’re impeding effective immigration enforcement and compromising public safety, such as by insisting that criminal warrants or judicial orders must accompany detainers, and that is a red herring. Important as it is, deportation is a civil and administrative function. And for that reason, immigration law doesn’t even provide for the issuance of criminal warrants against aliens who are wanted for deportation, and there’s a logical reason for that: the immigration deportation system operates in parallel to the criminal justice system. If immigration agents were obliged to obtain judicial warrants or court orders for every one of the 11-plus million illegal aliens presently in the country, the federal court system would be crushed into paralysis. Congress recognized that, and instead has provided alternate means of establishing due process and probable cause. That those alternate means aren’t to the liking of some state or local governments is immaterial, and it suggests a fundamental misunderstanding on their part of how the legal process was intended to work. So when local governments or state governments exercise such policies and insist on legal instruments that are not only unnecessary but completely unavailable under federal law, they are tacitly acknowledging their unwillingness to abide by what federal law does authorize and permit – that they are trying to mask their acknowledgement of that in a dishonest way, which is intended to divert the public eye from the true state of affairs, such as in San Francisco.
Now, this state of affairs in which we find ourselves as the American public stems, to me – stems, in my view, from three causes: state and local officials who believe that they should be able to substitute their judgments for what federal immigration law permits or disallows, although they would be outraged if the circumstances were reversed; second, litigious advocacy groups who have filed lawsuit after lawsuit, with the express aim of wrecking the mechanisms of immigration enforcement that have worked to protect the public for so many years; and finally, a federal government that is so out of kilter that it sues states that are wishing to aid in enforcing immigration law, but permits sanctuaries to exist, even at the expense of community safety. And it is this which has done incalculable harm to the use of detainers and also through making public pronouncements to the effect that honoring detainers is voluntary, even though federal regulation clearly states that it’s a mandate. Just yesterday, at a hearing in the House of Representatives, the DHS secretary admitted that although he preferred to view detainers as voluntary, neither his nor – his organization nor the Justice Department has absolutely any legal opinion to sustain that point of view – none.
When I used the phrases “harboring” and “shielding” previously, I did so advisedly, because they’re the words used in the federal statute that makes it a felony to smuggle or transport or harbor or shield from detection aliens who are illegally in the United States. The statute, which can be found at Title 8 of the U.S. Code, Section 1324, makes no exception for state or local officials, including enforcement personnel. State and local officials are as amenable to prosecution for violating the harboring laws as anyone. It could reasonably be argued that state and local officials are, in fact, held to a higher standard of conduct than the average man.
Now, do I think that officials will, in fact, be prosecuted by the federal government under this administration? Absolutely I don’t. But I raise the hypothetical possibility because, if it was exercised just once, it would send the loudest possible message about the folly of organized attempts to obstruct federal law.
I mentioned earlier how the administration has undercut the effective use of detainers. Most recently, Secretary Johnson has gone even further by directing that immigration agents refrain from using them whenever possible, even though they are lawful and, from the point of view of community safety, absolutely critical. The consequence of the combined actions of the administration plus unfettered and brazen defiance of federal prerogatives has resulted in a bloody hemorrhaging of alien criminals into the streets all across America. The murder of Kate Steinle was only the most recent of a number of such needless and preventable homicides.
So what can be done to curb the trend toward state and local governments superseding their beliefs about what federal immigration law should be versus what it actually is?
First, there must be congressional action. I know that several members of Congress have been introducing piecemeal legislation that focuses on detainers by directing that funds of one sort of another be denied to sanctuary jurisdictions. That may or may not suffice in the short run. But in the long run, there must be more. The Davis-Oliver Act goes further and provides other additional necessary counterbalances to ensure the public safety – including, I might say notably, providing immunity to state and local officers in their compliance with detainers and in their cooperation with federal immigration authorities. And I believe that is critical to them as well.
Second, state legislatures could also take a strong position by enacting laws that authorize and direct their state and local officers to work fully and cooperatively with immigration authorities, and they could also establish their own immunity provisions within those state statutes. This would reverse the kind of trend that we have seen, for instance, in California with the TRUST Act, which embeds in California state statute sanctuary policies.
And then, third, I think that victims and families of victims need to take a chapter from the litigious nature of advocacy groups. There must be lawsuits which are just as aggressive at halting law enforcement personnel from releasing alien criminals as there have been by advocacy groups bent on dismantling enforcement. Title 42 of the United States Code at Section 1983 says this in pertinent part: “Every person who, under color of any statute, or ordinance, or regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory” … “subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person” … “to the deprivation of” … “rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution” … “shall be liable to the party injured.” And certainly deprivation of life ranks right up there with constitutional protections.
To date, to my knowledge, no family of a victim has used that statute to file suit. I personally believe that it might be appropriate in exactly such cases as what happened in San Francisco, where it was a Board of Supervisors ordinance and a sheriff’s office policy that led directly to the release of the alien who committed the murder of Kate Steinle.
That’s it for me.
MR. KRIKORIAN: Thank you, Dan.
Q: What was the statute?
MR. CADMAN: 42 USC § 1983.
MR. KRIKORIAN: OK. Sheriff Jenkins?
SHERIFF CHARLES A. “CHUCK” JENKINS: Good morning. My name’s Sheriff Charles “Chuck” Jenkins. I’m from Frederick County, Maryland. I’ve been sheriff up there for nine years. We’re located about one hour northwest of Washington right here. It’s a beautiful county, beautiful community, population of about 240,000 people. Like I said, I’ve been in law enforcement 25 years locally, sheriff as nine of those years. I sit on two committees of the National Sheriffs Association, the Homeland Security Committee and also the Immigration and Border Security Committee. I feel that I can speak with some authority to the issues we’re talking about today. I think I can also give you a real good local perspective, and I’m a very strong proponent of law enforcement cooperating with ICE.
The Frederick County Sheriff’s Office during my tenure has had a very successful relationship with ICE. It works through our 287(g) partnership program. We implemented that in 2008. When Secure Communities came online, we were the second county in the state of Maryland to go online with that program.
Since the inception of 287(g), to date we’ve placed detainers on 1,355 criminal illegal aliens in Frederick County, people were in this – who were in this country illegally, in our county, and committed crimes against our citizens. One thousand two hundred thirty-four of those criminals were turned over to ICE and placed into removal proceedings. There have been a total of 166 prosecutorial releases during that period of time.
I want you to really listen to this, because this is important. Included in that number: 43 validated transnational criminal gang members, 30 additional suspected gang members. Among those – 14 of those had specialized training in military sniper, commando, knife fighting and martial arts. Those are the types of individuals that are coming across our borders into our communities. In 2014 alone in Frederick County, eight detainers were placed on detainees charged with rape and sexual offenses on children between the ages of five and 14. Crimes committed for those alien removals also include aggravated assault, rape and sex offenses, assault on law enforcement, domestic violence, drug trafficking, burglary, theft and child abuse.
Folks, we have accomplished this with no drain on local resources or tax dollars. Our partnership with ICE has become just a course of what we do normally in our detention center. It’s a really easy program. All you have to do is have the will to do it.
As the sheriff of Frederick County, there are a couple other points I want to talk about this morning. And listen, believe me, this is all about – in my world, this is all about public safety, national security, and the rule of law in the United States of America.
The first and most critical point, I think, is ICE detainers on individuals in our country illegally must be honored by sheriffs, jails, prisons, state and local law enforcement from coast to coast. Not to honor those detainers knowingly and releasing these people back onto our streets is I think a dereliction of duty, I think it’s wrong, and it jeopardizes the safety of our citizens. This is why we’re here today. This is exactly what we’re talking about.
You know, we see this so many times, day in day out, week in week out. It just so happens now the untimely death and the tragic death of Kate Steinle I think has driven this point to where it is today.
I think, number one, effective information sharing between law enforcement – state, federal, local – is critical to agency cooperation, and it’s just not done. To honor these detainers and to protect American citizens, we have to be – we have to have a tighter source of information sharing.
And I can also attest, as a local law enforcement agency, you don’t have to be in a partnership. You don’t have to make a commitment to ICE. They’re not looking for a program partner. They’re simply looking for cooperation. They’re looking for me as a sheriff to pick up the phone, or they’re looking for me as a sheriff to pick up the phone when they call to say, sheriff, we have an individual with a detainer; will you hold him? Yes, we will in Frederick County.
I think that every sheriff across this country, every law enforcement agency, is obligated and should step up and, in effect, become a force multiplier for ICE because that’s what we do. The dynamic of law enforcement has changed in this country. The dynamic of crime, all the criminal gang activity, has changed the face of what we do on the streets. And we just – we need to face it. This is a part of it. So I do think we have a role in it.
I think that non-cooperation and not honoring these detainers actually creates a sanctuary jurisdiction. It does not protect, but in fact jeopardizes your community. Again, we’ve seen it time after time. Tragedies play out, day after day. People are killed, murdered, raped, robbed, traffic crashes that kill our citizens. And again, many of these people are released from local jails and turned right back out onto the streets simply for lack of cooperation.
In my mind, there is no reason that an ICE detainer can’t be handled in the exact same way as a state-to-state fugitive warrant, OK? Different authorities, but you could really simplify this process just like we do fugitive warrants on a daily basis.
There are several jurisdictions here in Virginia and Maryland which are non-cooperating cities and counties – in effect, sanctuaries. There was a recent case where a convicted sex offender that had a detainer that was not honored was released back onto the street and offended again. I’ll tell you this: in Frederick County – there’s much less chance of an occurrence like this in my county than there is in these sanctuary counties and jurisdictions.
I believe that federal legislation should be passed to empower and mandate that all state and local law enforcement will cooperate with ICE in situations where ICE detainers are placed for holds. And, Congressman, I would be very supportive of anything you would introduce like that and certainly encourage the National Sheriffs to be there with you. You know, that legislation I believe should also include limited authority for state and local law enforcement, because remember when I said the face of what we do on the streets every day has changed dramatically over the years.
When you look at the cost of the enforcement, it’s much more cost-efficient when we encounter and turn over a criminal alien in a controlled environment like the jail rather than to make ICE have to go back out onto the street, like Jessica had talked about, and go through the process all over again. It takes much more time, effort, resources, and manpower that’s expended by ICE to go back out on the street and take custody of that person you just let out of jail a week ago. It just – it, frankly, doesn’t make sense. It also saves local tax dollars because that offender does not now get rearrested and come back into your local jail.
The Senate and House should be encouraged, I think, by all sheriffs and police chiefs to pass the Davis-Oliver Act. They were the two officers killed in California by the – I think the previously deported criminal alien who was a known Mexican Pride criminal gang member. And again, I’m calling for all sheriffs and all chiefs to support this act in the Senate.
My question to you, I think, is when are we Americans going to be outraged? When are we going to have enough? Kate Steinle should never have died. She should be alive today. There should never be another tragedy in America like that.
A little bit of leverage, I think, to cooperate with ICE – and I think the congressman mentioned funding – the SCAAP funding, money given to local jails and detention centers to support these efforts to house federal detainees. If you don’t cooperate, cut them off, folks, because I can tell you as a sheriff dollars motivate action.
Secure Communities, and I’ll talk – which is now replaced with PEP. And I’m really disappointed in that. I think this really waters down the program almost to the point of being ineffective. This new framework of priorities to transfer criminal aliens from state and local custody severely restricts the ability of ICE agents to do their jobs, and again, jeopardizes public safety. Again, I can speak to the fact that ICE agents in the field want to carry out their mission. They’re looking for our help. They’re looking for local law enforcement. In effect, what ICE is doing – what DHS is doing by allowing illegal immigrants who continually commit less-serious crimes, to eventually become aggravated felons and more violent criminals before eventually taking custody and taking the steps necessary for removal.
I think, as I thought back a little bit, you know, where are we today with this? I think going back to the ’50s, ’60s, even into the ’70s and ’80s, any immigrant charged and convicted of any crime was deported and could never return legally to the country. How did this get so far out of hand? I don’t think anybody can answer that.
My other question would be to this administration – and no one will ever answer it – is why are we – why is DHS waiting for criminals to become more serious offenders and violent criminals, and prioritizing only aggravated felons for removal? One fact that really jumps out at me is that nationwide ICE has 34,000 beds available for alien removals. Under the current priority policy of PEP, they are not filling the beds that are available for removal. Why are we not filling the beds? Why prioritize if we’re not meeting our numbers now, OK? Why are we not – why are we prioritizing for removal when we simply can’t fill the beds we have?
Currently in Maryland, only 200 of the roughly 450 beds available are being utilized on a daily basis. I house detainees at the Frederick County Detention Center. Our numbers are down. They’re down because of this new program.
Also, I wanted to talk a bit about this so-called chilling effect that Jessica spoke of. And I can tell you, from a local perspective, it simply does not exist. There has no been – there’s been no decline in reporting of crime in any of our immigrant communities. Again, she mentioned studies. There are studies from the Bureau of Justice, the Police Executive Research Forum and others that have shown there is no meaningful decline in reporting of crime or in the trust of law enforcement.
As a matter of fact, I can tell you this – and I pick up my phone and I get calls from people in the immigrant communities that are legal immigrants, that are naturalized citizens, that are – that go all the way back to the Cambodian refugees from the Vietnam era. Some of my biggest supporters in Frederick County are people in these communities that say: Hey, Sheriff, listen, we’re offended by what’s going on in our community. Thank you for what you’re doing in your agency. Thank you for supporting the law, for enforcing the law, because, listen, is this not a quality-of-life issue? Is any community not safer if we take a criminal out of there? I say yes it is.
Just a few other points I want to make about the courts and sentencing. Immigration hearings and decisions by judges should be more timely, again, to allow ICE to do their job. Because of distant court hearings, because sometimes court date now – court dates now are probably in some cases as long as three years out, the illegal – the illegal immigrants disappear, never show. So we don’t – we don’t know who they are until there’s an encounter with law enforcement.
Partiality in sentencing. And this – by this I mean when – in many cases – I know in Maryland in many cases when a foreign-born offender is sentenced he or she receives a much lighter sentence than an American-born offender. Why? The thought process is, OK, we give them a shorter sentence, a lesser sentence, with the thought being when they’re released they’re going to be deported. Well, the flaw in that theory is it never happens. So, again, offenders are placed back out on our streets. Again, why? Because of the failure to cooperate and communicate.
The other thing, far too many asylum requests are granted to criminals. There are mechanisms in place in the immigration courts to grant asylum. Far too many are granted to criminals, particularly gang members. I’ll give you a case in point. A green-card holder had various violent crimes, but because judges were so lenient on sentencing, DHS was not able to capture the violent behavior because there was not enough sentencing for removal. The offender was released and committed a murder fairly soon after that.
I went last year to McAllen, Texas, to the border, to see for myself how bad the problem was in the border counties and the border states. Really was an eye-opener. It was probably – I expected that, but it really does open your eyes to see the impact to the border counties of the people streaming – the hundreds of thousands of people streaming across their borders into the United States. And I’ll ask you to just keep this in mind: The Washington area – D.C., Virginia, Maryland – is only a two-day drive from the border. So the very same problems that we see in our border states and border counties, we will very soon become a border state and border county.
The hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants coming across will never see an immigration hearing, and they’ll not be identified until at some point they have an encounter with law enforcement. Those illegal immigrants are not vetted. We don’t know who they really are. The congressman spoke about terrorists coming across our borders. Yes, indeed, they do. We know they’re here. We know there are cells in this country, probably in this close proximity. In my state of Maryland, there are an – there are an additional 5,000 illegal immigrants since the surge last year, most of them unaccompanied children.
Inasmuch as I think that border security is probably going to be the cornerstone of our mission and what we have to accomplish first nationally, I think the second-biggest piece of this is the state and local law enforcement participating, working with ICE on these detainers. It just has to be done. And again, this is about keeping America safe. I go back to – my thought process is I go back to the point, this could be very simply done. It could be as simple as a state-to-state fugitive detainer. We do them every single day.
And I guess I’ll close by making a final point and a little brief analogy to think about with this new set of priorities created by the – or set by this administration for enforcement and removal, basically only going after violent offenders and aggravated felons. Our first apprehension and detainer under our 287 program in Frederick County – and these are the circumstances: an illegal immigrant from El Salvador – actually an absconder who had already been ordered to be removed, OK? – driving through a school zone during a school day, 65 miles per hour, with a blood alcohol content three times the legal limit. Now, my question to you – and I want you to think about this – was this illegal alien any less a public safety threat than the gang member, the rapist, the drug trafficker? I think the answer is pretty obvious to you and me both. If it was my child, I’d consider that a public safety threat. If it’s your child, you would consider that a public safety threat. So again, think about these things. Think about where we are, what we need to do as local law enforcement.
I believe that as sheriff I have an obligation. I took an oath. I take that seriously. I think every other sheriff and chief should feel the same way, to uphold the laws and the United States Constitution. And I think a part of that duty today has to be our commitment to work with ICE get these criminals off our streets and out of the country. So thank you.
MR. KRIKORIAN: Thank you, Sheriff. (Applause.)
We’ll take some questions now for any of the panelists, and we have a microphone in the back. We have a question here, Marguerite.
Q: This San Francisco case brings up one set of facts that seems to have been ignored in much of the analysis of the newspapers, and that is the fact that the perpetrator had been deported five times, which demonstrates the fact that the system of ICE apprehension and deportation has been working, to a certain extent, in order to get that person deported five times. And the other side of that issue is the fact that he has come back after five deportations, which underscores the fact that our system of controlling against illegal immigration coming into the country obviously is inadequate. And I wondered if you maybe would – one of you would want to comment on that set of circumstances that has not really been commented very much on in the news.
REP. BARLETTA: Well, I think, you know, one example is why we need to secure our borders. The fact that this individual can figure out five times how to get back into the country when we know for a fact that ISIS and other terrorist groups are targeting the United States, targeting Washington and the people here. And a man of this caliber – low caliber – can figure out how to get into America so easily. And obviously the time he spent being detained could not have been significant. That he was able to do this five times over a period of time I think really raises a red flag on why we need an urgency in securing America’s borders. As I said before, 50 percent of the people – almost 50 percent didn’t cross that border. Any state that has an international airport is a border state. And there needs to be an urgency in securing America’s borders, and obviously it’s not working.
MR. CADMAN: I would also add that the reality is that even though the law on the books says that it’s a felony – a federal felony to reenter after deportation, getting U.S. attorneys offices to accept those cases is extraordinarily difficult. And that’s true both in border states, where they feel the press of business from many other things, including drug trafficking and weapons trafficking, and in major metropolitan areas. And the harsh reality is that some U.S. attorneys offices has thresholds saying, well, if this is the third time we’ll take it, or if this is the fourth time we’ll take it. But what that means is that the immigration officials and then left catching the fish and throwing it back into the ocean. And it may not be the best thing, but it’s better than what happened in San Francisco, where because someone chose to obstruct even that small amount of prevention it ended up in a murder.
MS. VAUGHAN: I think it’s –
SHERIFF JENKINS: I’d like – I’d like to add one point, and the congressman pointed this out. You know, we have not had the will yet to secure that border. Having been down there and seeing it both from the air and on the water, it’s going to be a monumental task, no doubt about it. But if we had the will to do it, it could be done. I really believe that.
Just in the McAllen sector, which I spent a couple of days, in the 75-mile stretch, there are 36 major crossing areas. And you can actually see for yourself as you’re going up and down the river on the boats where the coyotes, the cartel – the gang-bangers, the gang members, stage their human cargo to bring them across the river. As soon as the boat goes by or as soon as the helicopter flies over and they’re out of visual, then across come the illegals. So there’s a lot of that. But I really believe this: if we had the will to do it, we could do it between manpower, technology and finishing portions of the wall down there, so.
MR. KRIKORIAN: Jessica and I did an analysis of – what was it? – like maybe five years of deportations in the recent past. I can’t remember the exact years. It was maybe 2010, ’11, ’12, ’13, ’14?
MS. VAUGHAN: Not ’14, but up to ’13.
MR. KRIKORIAN: Anyway, what we found is that, both in the interior and at the border, one of every four people caught was a prior deport. One out of every four was rolling through that border.
MS. VAUGHAN: And what that tells me is I think it’s quite clear that the lack of interior enforcement is itself a motivation for people to keep coming back, because they know that if they can get back here they will be able to live here without being – without any fear of immigration enforcement.
MR. CADMAN: If you can pierce the green line, you’re through.
MR. KRIKORIAN: And I think part of that point is something people don’t talk about as interacting with this issue, is something like employer sanctions. In other words, if it’s hard for illegal immigrants to get work, then it’s less appealing for them to try. Maybe they’ll try three times and then give up, I don’t know. But the point is we’re not even taking the elementary steps to make reentering five times sort of less appealing and not worth it. And in fact, the suspect in this case told the news – not only did he confess to doing it, he said, yeah, he picked San Francisco because it was a sanctuary jurisdiction. But you know, part of that appeal is that he was no doubt able to earn enough – earn a living without any consequences because he was an illegal alien.
Any other questions?
Q: May I? I’d like to circle back on your question about people’s status just for a moment. I would like to make a point of saying that the Federal Privacy Act does not cover illegal aliens. The Privacy Act says very specifically that it applies to United States persons, USPERS, who are citizens and lawful residents – nobody else. So when DHS or ICE or CBP –
MR. KRIKORIAN : Or Social Security.
Q: – decline to give you information about an individual because they’re illegal, or they say we can’t talk about that for privacy reasons, that’s bogus. That is a privacy right created out of thin air. It does not exist in federal law.
MS. VAUGHAN: And should not be encouraged. You know, someone’s immigration status should not be something that you’re allowed to keep a secret to yourself, like your religion or your favorite color or whatever. But that is the policy now of the federal government, to protect this information, even criminal aliens.
MR. KRIKORIAN: Did you have a question? Oh, OK.
Yeah, mmm hmm.
Q: Hi. Nick Ballasy with PJ Media.
I wanted to ask you about Donald Trump in particular because he’s really taken this issue in to the mainstream. Based on the facts you’ve presented, is what he’s been saying about crime among illegal immigrants accurate? And what do you think about the criticism he’s been getting in the media?
MR. KRIKORIAN: This is a politics question, Congressman, so. (Laughs.)
REP. BARLETTA: You know, maybe it could have been said in a different way. You know, maybe he didn’t articulate it in a – in a way that was acceptable to many. But I’ve been on that same – I’ve been on that same side of the fence that Donald Trump has been on.
You know, when I first came forward with the law I created in Hazleton, I was immediately – media from all around the world, literally, came to interview me. And many times, especially in print media, when I would talk about illegal immigrants, the first paragraph would have illegal immigrant, and then the second paragraph would leave out the word “illegal” – and then my message became anti-immigrant, which is the furthest from what I – I was defending immigrants and wanting them to have a better opportunity in America, to have a better education for their children, a better job, to earn more money. But the article became anti-immigrant. I had to stop using the word “illegal immigrant” for that reason. I started using the word “illegal alien” because they simply couldn’t leave out the word “illegal.”
So I understood what Donald Trump was saying. I don’t believe he intended that every single person that comes in is a rapist and a murderer. However – however – we can’t – nobody here can say that some that have crossed the border are not. We know for a fact some of that is true. But, however, the media will take many times, when you’re dealing with this issue, and portray it in a way that wasn’t the entire intent.
So, you know, I’ve experienced many of that. I’ve been called a racist, a bigot. I’ve been called every name under the book. My grandson is half-Dominican. I take exception when somebody tries to portray me as anti-immigrant.
However, it’s why many politicians will not deal with this issue. They simply won’t go there, and we may see that with many of the presidential candidates. You know, this is a serious issue in this country. It’s one of the top issues in the country. We may find presidential candidates reluctant to talk about one of the top issues in the country. And many times, it’s because the media may portray you as anti-immigrant, which is ludicrous – is ludicrous.
Why do people come to America? They come here for a better opportunity. How is it better for the immigrants that come to this country for a better opportunity to allow millions to come in there and take jobs off them, or depress the wages that they’re going to earn, or hurt them in educating their children? It’s just ludicrous. However, more times than not politicians will choose to stay away from this topic because of the names that you’ll be called and how you’ll be portrayed. You know, if Donald Trump – you know, the silver lining of this whole thing, he brought this issue to the forefront. And Kate Steinle happened to just qualify some of the things that he was saying.
MR. KRIKORIAN: Let me – if I could just add something to what the congressman said, the CIS really is nonpartisan in the sense that both Republicans and Democrats hate us. (Laughter.) But the one thing I’d want to say is that shame on the rest of the political class that it took a carnival barker like Donald Trump to get this issue on the front burner. This is something that all of us here and a number of other people have been talking about, researching on, introducing legislation on, et cetera, for years and years and years.
People have been killed long before Kate Steinle, as we’ve suggested, others that haven’t even been mentioned here yet. And it took, you know, a reality TV star with $9 billion and nothing to lose to get the issue on the front burner. Whatever his merits or demerits, the real shame is that other Republican or Democratic regular politicians haven’t met with the victim families before or haven’t raised this issue in consistent way. In a sense, whatever his qualities, his success at this is an indictment of the entire political class.
Q: Yeah. I believe this is something I – if I remember correctly Mr. Cadman said, but he called for a need for litigiousness, you know, in the same sense that the civil rights groups sue people for, you know, violating immigrants’ rights, as they see it. Are there any groups that exist that do that? Are there cases? Is there much of a precedent for this?
MR. CADMAN: I believe that in one case – now, I can tell you two cases, but it didn’t – neither used the statute that I have mentioned. There was a case of the Bologna family, which I believe was also in San Francisco. And I think they attempted to sue, saying that San Francisco’s policies violated the statute that relates to open communications between state and local government on one hand and federal immigration on the other, and the case was dismissed. They couldn’t make the case that San Francisco’s statute was so clearly in violation of the – of that provision of law, which is 8 USC § 1373. Anyway, the basis for the lawsuit wasn’t the same as the one I’m suggesting. The one I’m suggesting is a blunt instrument. You deprive people of their life, their property, and you do it under color of law, you are liable for the consequences. So that was an attempt, and it failed for reasons of statute.
I’m also told to that the father of the young boy, Jamiel Shaw, who was I think in fact one of the people that stood on the podium with Trump, he attempted to file a lawsuit in Los Angeles County, and I believe that the poor man couldn’t find anyone to assist him. And he filed it pro bono and it was dismissed, probably on procedural grounds. And I find it depressing that the man didn’t have the money to file a lawsuit to, you know, rectify the injustice of his son being murdered.
Q: (Off mic.)
MS. VAUGHAN: There was another case in Chicago, the McCann family. Dennis McCann was hit by an illegal alien drunk driver with a prior conviction for aggravated felony who was released when Cook County’s sheriff was following the Cook County ordinance. There was an ICE detainer on him. Soon after Cook County adopted its sanctuary policy, they released him, and he fled and was never able to face prosecution. He’s a fugitive now.
The McCann family filed suit under a state statute in Illinois that apparently requires public officials to perform their duties, and it was dismissed by a state judge. That was – case was brought by Judicial Watch, and their briefs and all the materials are available to the public for others to look at to see the arguments and so on. So it’s –
Q: Congressman, how do you see the transfer from Mr. Trump, who we all agree, I think, has proved to be a Paul Revere, and an Ann Coulter?
And you people have presented to me a powerful case. How do you bring that into the political mainstream if there’s no candidate going to stand up and bring that to the public’s attention? I don’t think that – you know, they’re calling Trump as a boomlet. And there’s a tremendous pressure on the media. And if you look at the whole situation, it’s going to be very difficult to make a political transfer of this issue so that it’s credible to a broad number of people. I feel that’s going to be a major problem.
REP. BARLETTA: I think – I think many of the candidates – not only at the presidential level, I believe at the state level and at the federal level – will realize that the American people have had enough. I really – you know, I really – I really believe this. You know – you know, I just talk about my own experience and I remember – I remember feeling like I was alone. I couldn’t get a politician to come near me at the time. It was during the presidential election. None of the presidential candidates – they were in Pennsylvania for six weeks. None of them would come near Hazleton. And every day I’d pick up the paper and see that they were very close and I was wondering why they weren’t coming to Hazleton. And I thought maybe it was me, and I realized that it was me. (Laughter.) Nobody wanted to come close.
And I felt alone. I’ll be honest with you. It was daunting as a small-town mayor to, you know, have microphones from all around the country and the world in your face and you’re defending yourself. But then the mail started coming, and literally sacks and sacks and sacks of letters and checks. I raised a half-a-million dollars to defend ourselves in small denominations – $10, $20 – from people around the country. We received donations from every state, including Alaska and Hawaii. I remember getting a letter from a gentleman in western part of the United States. He was retired – a retired veteran. And he said, Mayor, here’s $7. It’s all I have. Keep fighting. And another man, who was in a nursing home, who told – had been saving quarters and told his daughter where the quarters were, to send them to Hazleton.
And I realized that I wasn’t alone. The American people understand the problem of illegal immigration. It’s politicians who are afraid to put their name out there. And listen, if I don’t get elected again because of that, then so be it. I’ll go get another job. But this affected my town. I took an oath of office, and I was going to do something about it. I believe politicians will find that the American people have had it. They’ve had it with the talking points. They’ve had it with – you know, when an incident like this happens everyone steps up and steps forward, but they don’t go through with it. And I think Donald Trump is going to be an example of America’s looking for leadership.
SHERIFF JENKINS: Could I raise a point to that also? I think what you’re going to find also – again, I sit on two major committees of the National Sheriffs. In this most recent conference just two weeks ago, I found that sheriffs now are ready to speak up on this issue, to push this issue to Congress, to the Senate. You got 3,087 or some odd sheriffs in this country. That’s a lot of clout. That’s a lot of votes. That’s a lot of horsepower. And I can tell you, from my experience as sheriff in Frederick County, I’ve been very much supported in this effort, have, you know, gotten some big numbers, not just because of that. But by and large, the citizens are tired of it. I can tell you, the western coalition sheriffs are frustrated. They’re tired of it. The border county sheriffs are tired of it. People want something done. And I agree with the congressman; there’s going to be a surge, a push from sheriffs across this country through their citizens. And somebody is going to have to listen.
MS. VAUGHAN: The real danger, I think, is that everyone realizes how salient this issue now. And what I’m worried about is that there are some in Congress who support the sanctuaries through their actions who will come up with a pretend solution to this problem and say something to the effect of, for example, oh, we all agree ICE’s detainers must always be honored for felons or for convicted criminals, or for some narrow subset of the population. And experience tells us this is just not enough. All of them need to be honored, or no federal funding of certain types, because we cannot predict who the next murderer is. If ICE is seeking to deport someone, state and local jurisdictions must not obstruct ICE performing its mission in a legitimate fashion, period.
Q: Thank you.
Q: Can I follow up on that?
MR. KRIKORIAN: Yeah, quickly. We want to respect people’s time. We’re going to wrap it up.
Q: Secretary Johnson yesterday was saying, in effect, the solution to the problem is the new PEP program, which Sheriff Jenkins addressed. But there’s been virtually no analysis of the difference between PEP and Secure Communities, that the PEP was supposed to replace, that analyzes why PEP is not a solution to that problem. And I wonder if any of you can address that.
MR. KRIKORIAN: That’s a whole other panel, but I mean, let’s – we can’t – I don’t want to go –
MS. VAUGHAN: We do have – we have some – Dan has written some things that are on our website, so.
MR. CADMAN: I would substitute the acronym PEP for “dud,” myself. (Laughter.) I am thoroughly unimpressed. He has raised the standard so incredibly high that, as the sheriff has very wisely commented, DHS is going to be in the position of growing recidivists. When you allow people who again and again flout the law and learn from it that what they get is a free pass and a walk out of jail because everyone wants to turn a blind eye to it, what message does that send to them about being a law-abiding person? It doesn’t send the right message. And in our everything has to be black and everything has to be white world, we often forget that quite frequently the victims of these people are other people in the immigrant community. They want them excised from their midst just as surely as everyone else.
MR. KRIKORIAN: We’re going to wrap it up there and thank all of the participants. I need to respect people’s time. Thank you. Thank you, Congressman. (Applause.)
And several of the panelists will be available to be accosted afterwards, I think. So thanks for coming. And this will be on our website, the video of it, at some point probably next week. And hope to see you at a future event. Thank you.