Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton is taking heat from pundits over her previous unabashed support of sanctuary cities that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities and thereby afford deportation protection to illegal immigrants.
Kate Steinle's tragic murder could likely have been prevented if the city of San Francisco had notified U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement of 45-year-old Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez's release from its custody, yet due to the city's decades-long sanctuary policy, he was released onto the streets without a word, where he went on to kill 32-year-old Steinle. Sanchez had already been deported five times and convicted of seven felonies.
Clinton's past support of sanctuary cities, along with her recently stated intention to expand President Obama's immigration actions, indicates that if elected president, she probably won't crack down on the more than 200 state and local jurisdictions that have policies that call for not honoring ICE requests, notes The Daily Caller.
It was in September 2007 when then-Sen. Clinton said during a presidential debate that she supported sanctuary cities because they help ensure the "personal safety and security of all the citizens."
"If local law enforcement begins to act like immigration officers, what that means is that you will have people not reporting crimes," she said. "You will have people hiding from the police. And I think that is a real direct threat to the personal safety and security of all the citizens. So this is a result of the failure of the federal government and that's where it needs to be fixed."
Debate moderator Tim Russert then asked Clinton, "You would allow the sanctuary cities to disobey the federal law?"
Clinton responded, "Well, I don't think there is any choice. The ICE groups go in and raid individuals, but if you're the local police chief and you're trying to solve a crime that you know people from the immigrant community have information about, they may not talk to you if they also think you are going to be enforcing immigration laws. Local law enforcement has a different job than federal immigration enforcement. The problem is the federal government has totally abdicated its responsibility."
Clinton expressed her support again in 2008 in an interview with Bill O'Reilly of Fox News:
"Are you going to crack down on the sanctuary cities," O'Reilly asked, to which Clinton responded, "No, I'm not."
More recently, in May, Clinton pledged to expand President Obama's executive immigration actions, which have further legitimized sanctuary cities.
"If Congress refuses to act, as president I would do everything possible under the law to go even further," Clinton said, reported The Washington Examiner. "I will fight to stop the partisan attacks on the president's executive actions."
Jessica Vaughan, policy director of the Center for Immigration Studies, explained to The Daily Caller what a Clinton White House could look like.
"Hillary Clinton's recent public statements indicate that she intends to outdo the Obama administration in dismantling immigration laws, so there is good reason to be concerned that this problem would get worse under a Clinton administration, and that more local governments would either be encouraged or coerced into obstructing ICE," Vaughan said. "I would expect another Clinton administration to stoop to the same kind of legal hi-jinks, abuse of authority, disregard of safety and security, and then evasion of accountability, much as we witnessed when she was Secretary of State."