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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Sanctuary Cities Undermine Law

Scott Brady - U.S. Attorney For
Western District of Pennsylvania
by Scott Brady: On Jan, 6, 2020, 92-year-old Maria Fuentes was raped and murdered by Reeaz Khan, a 21-year-old illegal immigrant in New York City.

But this tragedy was entirely preventable. In fact, Khan should have been in custody at the time because six weeks earlier Khan was jailed and arrested for domestic violence charges.

Because he was in the country illegally, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) filed a detainer that requested that the jail give ICE prior notice and the opportunity to detain Khan before the jail released him. Rather than honoring this request, New York officials released Khan. Had they honored the detainer, Ms. Fuentes might still be alive today.

We have witnessed similar tragedies in Pennsylvania.

In April 2019, the City of Philadelphia refused to honor an ICE detainer for Hector Moran-Espinoza, a violent felon who had been charged with rape and with sexual abuse of children. Rather than turning him over to ICE, Philadelphia officials instead released him back into the public.

Within a month, Moran-Espinoza had sexually assaulted a 13-year-old girl and was charged again with sexual assault (inexplicably, Philadelphia officials released Moran-Espinoza yet again following this sexual assault). Another entirely preventable tragedy.

Sadly, these stories can now be told around the country as more and more cities declare themselves “sanctuary cities” and refuse to work with ICE to detain violent criminals who are also in the country illegally. Again, these are aliens who are not simply in the United States illegally, but they have also committed separate crimes which have brought them into the state criminal justice system.

Simply put, by unnecessarily releasing violent criminals into our midst, political officials place a higher priority on political posturing than on public safety.

So what are ICE detainers? They are requests ICE makes to the local law enforcement agency to take minimal steps to protect the public from someone in the country illegally who has also been charged with a state crime. Specifically, the ICE detainer asks the prison or jail to notify ICE before the suspected alien is released from custody.

Typically the institution keeps the suspected alien in custody for a brief period of time until ICE can take them into custody in a safe and secure setting. It works best when the law enforcement agency knows the suspected alien’s release date and gives ICE advance notice. Of course, after an alien is detained by ICE, the individual is accorded full due process protections and can challenge the detention.

When does ICE issue detainers? Only when three factors are present: (1) ICE has probable cause to suspect that the person is in the United States illegally, (2) the suspect has been arrested on other charges, and (3) the suspect is in law enforcement custody.

When all of these factors are present, federal law — created in 2003 and amended in 2011 — provides that ICE can lodge an immigration detainer with the law enforcement agency that has the suspected alien in custody. In other words, this is only about illegal aliens who have committed additional state or local crimes in the United States.

Why do ICE detainers matter? Because they protect everyone involved – the alien, law enforcement officers, and the public.

These detainers ensure that violent criminals are kept off of the streets where they could commit additional crimes and violent acts. They protect the alien and the officers by avoiding ICE having to re-arrest anyone, which would expose both the individual and the arresting officers to needless risk.

Additionally, ICE detainers affirm the rule of law.

When sanctuary cities refuse to comply with ICE detainers, they create a nationwide patchwork of places where the law is enforced and where it isn’t. When the political leaders of cities like New York City or Philadelphia lead the attack on the rule of law, it is no wonder that citizens feel betrayed by government which is there, first and foremost, to protect them.

In Western Pennsylvania, thankfully, we do not have any stories like those of Ms. Fuentes or the 13-year-old girl in Philadelphia. The vast majority of our law enforcement partners in the 25 counties that make up the Western District of Pennsylvania prioritize public safety and cooperate with ICE. Pennsylvania’s State Correctional Institutions and the vast majority of county jails comply with ICE detainers.

But we must remain vigilant. We cannot follow New York and Philadelphia down the road of declaring that local law enforcement should never work with ICE.

Instead, we must prioritize public safety and the rule of law. This is critical because we have our own potential Khans and Moran-Espinozas. There are people sitting in Western Pennsylvania jails who were arrested for charges of attempted rape or child pornography, and who also have ICE detainers lodged against them.

If those ICE detainers are ignored, then we will endanger our communities and undermine the rule of law. The tragedies that befell Ms. Fuentes and the 13-year-old girl in Philadelphia were preventable.

Both public safety and common sense demand that we do everything in our power to keep such tragedies from befalling our neighbors in Western Pennsylvania.
Scott Brady is the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania. He oversees federal prosecution and litigation for the 25 counties of Western Pennsylvania. H/T TRIB Live.

Tags: U.S, Attorney, Western District of Pennsylvania, Scott Brady, Sanctuary Cities, Undermine Law To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Posted by Bill Smith at 1:25 PM - Post Link


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