No sanc­tu­ary from murder in Den­ver

An il­le­gal re­leased from cus­tody shoots a cit­i­zen

The Washington Times Daily - - OPINION - By Wil­liam Perry Pend­ley Wil­liam Perry Pend­ley is pres­i­dent of Moun­tain States Le­gal Foun­da­tion in Den­ver and au­thor of “Sage­brush Rebel: Rea­gan’s Bat­tle with En­vi­ron­men­tal Ex­trem­ists and Why It Mat­ters To­day” (Reg­n­ery, 2013).

The smil­ing vis­age of Kathryn Steinle, trag­i­cally mur­dered while stand­ing be­side her fa­ther on a San Fran­cisco pier, is well-known. Known na­tion­ally as well is that the il­le­gal alien who shot her was a crim­i­nal with a long rap sheet, who had trav­eled il­le­gally to the United States on mul­ti­ple oc­ca­sions, and had been ar­rested and repa­tri­ated to Mex­ico only to re­turn to Amer­ica to re­sume his crim­i­nal ac­tiv­ity, in­clud­ing on that tragic day when he stole an un­guarded weapon from a Bureau of Land Man­age­ment agent and shot Ms. Steinle. All the while, he was pro­tected by San Fran­cisco’s elected of­fi­cials and law en­force­ment au­thor­i­ties who proudly pro­claim their city a “sanc­tu­ary” for il­le­gal aliens.

Thirty-two-year-old Tim Cruz of Den­ver de­serves to be known, re­mem­bered and mourned by Amer­ica like Ms. Steinle, per­haps even more so given that he died a ter­ri­fy­ing death, con­fronted by two ruth­less, hooded and masked thugs who de­manded his money, alone and with­out the com­fort of loved ones. At 1 a.m., in the cold, dark hours of Feb. 7, while stand­ing at Sheridan Av­enue’s ligh­trail train sta­tion, 2.5 miles west of the Den­ver Bron­cos’ Mile High Sta­dium, Mr. Cruz was shot dead. Within days, the Den­ver au­thor­i­ties ar­rested the sus­pected killers. Then the lo­cal me­dia made a shock­ing dis­cov­ery: One of the sus­pects was an il­le­gal alien who had been in cus­tody in Oc­to­ber but was re­leased de­spite a re­quest from fed­eral au­thor­i­ties to be no­ti­fied.

Im­mi­gra­tion and Cus­toms En­force­ment (ICE) con­sid­ered Ever Valles “an im­mi­gra­tion en­force­ment pri­or­ity” ow­ing to his “crim­i­nal his­tory” and be­cause he is a “cit­i­zen of Mex­ico” and a “known gang mem­ber.” More­over, ICE sus­pected Mr. Valles of be­ing in the United States il­le­gally. Thus, in Oc­to­ber, when ICE learned that Mr. Valles had been ar­rested for car theft and other charges, it asked to be no­ti­fied of any pro­posed re­lease by Den­ver’s Sher­iff. ICE said later it had not been in­formed when the sus­pect was re­leased on Dec. 20; in fact, the Den­ver Sher­iff had sent a fax to ICE at 11:33 p.m. — 27 min­utes be­fore mid­night — which ICE said was re­ceived at 12:37 a.m. Mr. Valles was re­leased at 11:59 p.m.

Den­ver is­sued a state­ment call­ing Mr. Cruz’s murder “a tragedy,” sent “its sin­cere con­do­lences to his fam­ily and friends in this dif­fi­cult time,” but blamed “the sys­tem,” ar­gu­ing that the sit­u­a­tion “painfully il­lus­trate the dif­fi­cult and sep­a­rate re­spon­si­bil­i­ties of lo­cal safety of­fi­cials and fed­eral im­mi­gra­tion au­thor­i­ties.” Af­ter all, “We are part of the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem and do not hold peo­ple on civil mat­ters.” Nonethe­less, “Den­ver is fo­cused on en­act­ing poli­cies and prac­tices that pro­tect peo­ple’s safety and their rights, in­clud­ing the rights of im­mi­grants, while al­low­ing fed­eral au­thor­i­ties to fo­cus on im­mi­gra­tion en­force­ment that re­moves dan­ger­ous and vi­o­lent felons from our streets.” Thus, Den­ver is com­mit­ted to creat­ing “a sys­tem where fed­eral and lo­cal gov­ern­ments re­spect each other’s re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and work to­gether to close the gaps.”

What in­ac­cu­rate, ir­re­spon­si­ble and in­sult­ing non­sense. Den­ver is part of the “crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem” but ICE han­dles “civil mat­ters.” Re­ally? Or how to ex­plain Den­ver’s fail­ure to pro­vide more than 27 min­utes’ no­tice be­fore mid­night to its broth­ers in blue? Should it be chalked up to just fol­low­ing or­ders, pas­sive-ag­gres­sive be­hav­ior, or com­pli­ance in form but not in sub­stance? Per­haps it is bib­li­cal — an ex­am­ple of Den­ver strain­ing out a gnat and swal­low­ing a camel. Or maybe it’s a cross-eyed read­ing of the Con­sti­tu­tion that re­sults in re­leas­ing a mur­der­ous gang­banger — not to ICE — but onto the street. I hope the city’s state­ment is not from the Den­ver sher­iff and does not re­flect his view or that of the Den­ver Po­lice Depart­ment, but rather the suits who run the city and be­lieve they will never find them­selves — as those in law en­force­ment fear daily — star­ing at the wrong end of a gun held by some­one fool­ishly re­leased from cus­tody.

On be­half of Mr. Cruz’s fam­ily, which is “livid” over the “sense­less” death of a “unique, big-hearted” man, one can only hope that Den­ver is held ac­count­able.

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