Deal­ing with il­le­gals who deal in crime

The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion pro­moted poli­cies that cir­cum­vented im­mi­gra­tion laws

The Washington Times Daily - - OPINION - By Andy Biggs Andy Biggs is a Repub­li­can U.S. rep­re­sen­ta­tive from Ari­zona.

On a Thurs­day morn­ing in Jan­uary 2015, Grant Ron­nebeck, a 21-year-old con­ve­nience store clerk, was work­ing the grave­yard shift at a Quick Trip in Mesa, Ari­zona. Just be­fore 4 a.m., an an­gry cus­tomer walked in, de­manded a pack of cig­a­rettes, and dumped a hand­ful of change on the store counter. When Grant at­tempted to count the money, the man pointed a gun at Grant’s head. Grant im­me­di­ately handed over the cig­a­rettes. The man mur­dered Grant, took the cig­a­rettes, and ca­su­ally walked out of the store.

This is a tragic and heart­break­ing story by any ac­count, but it is un­think­able to re­al­ize that it was ab­so­lutely pre­ventable. The per­pe­tra­tor, Apoli­nar Al­tami­rano, was an il­le­gal im­mi­grant with a long crim­i­nal record who had been re­leased from fed­eral cus­tody while await­ing de­por­ta­tion pro­ceed­ings. Had Al­tami­rano re­mained in cus­tody and been swiftly de­ported, he and Grant Ron­nebeck would never have en­coun­tered each other and Grant would still be with us to­day.

Sadly, this isn’t the only in­stance in which an in­no­cent Amer­i­can has been the vic­tim of a crime by an il­le­gal im­mi­grant. In 2014, Mesa po­lice of­fi­cer Bran­don Men­doza was killed in a wrong-way car crash by an il­le­gal im­mi­grant driv­ing un­der the in­flu­ence of drugs and al­co­hol. In 2015, Kate Steinle was killed by a stray bul­let fired by an il­le­gal im­mi­grant in pos­ses­sion of a stolen firearm. In Jan­uary 2016, Sarah Root was killed by an il­le­gal im­mi­grant who was street rac­ing while drunk in Omaha, Ne­braska. In Sarah’s case, her killer, Eswin G. Me­jia, was re­leased af­ter post­ing a small bond and was never heard from again. Th­ese are three high-profile cases that many Amer­i­cans are fa­mil­iar with. But they are not the only ones.

De­spite tragic sto­ries like th­ese, the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion pro­moted poli­cies that cir­cum­vented many of our im­mi­gra­tion laws, al­low­ing thou­sands of vi­o­lent crim­i­nals to re­turn to our com­mu­ni­ties. Worse still, cities around the coun­try im­ple­mented “sanc­tu­ary poli­cies,” pro­vid­ing safe haven to all il­le­gal im­mi­grants, in­clud­ing the crim­i­nally vi­o­lent. Ac­tions like th­ese have di­rectly led to the demise of our im­mi­gra­tion sys­tem and put il­le­gal im­mi­grants ahead of the safety of Amer­i­cans. If we are go­ing to re­gain con­trol over our im­mi­gra­tion sys­tem, it is time to en­sure poli­cies like th­ese no longer re­main in place. That is why I am very pleased to have co-au­thored H.R.3003, the No Sanc­tu­ary for Crim­i­nals Act, which in­cludes a sec­tion specif­i­cally ad­dress­ing il­le­gals who com­mit the types of crimes per­pe­trated in Grant, Kate, Bran­don and Sarah’s deaths.

The No Sanc­tu­ary for Crim­i­nals Act will fi­nally put penal­ties in place for cities, states, and lo­cal law en­force­ment agen­cies that im­ple­ment sanc­tu­ary poli­cies by dis­qual­i­fy­ing them for cer­tain fed­eral grants. No ju­ris­dic­tion should have the op­por­tu­nity to ben­e­fit from fed­eral tax­payer dol­lars while bla­tantly vi­o­lat­ing fed­eral law and en­dan­ger­ing the lives of Amer­i­cans. It will also place re­spon­si­bil­ity on those ju­ris­dic­tions who re­lease il­le­gal im­mi­grants af­ter U.S. Im­mi­gra­tion and Cus­toms En­force­ment asks for them to be de­tained by al­low­ing vic­tims of crimes com­mit­ted by th­ese in­di­vid­u­als to di­rectly sue the ju­ris­dic­tion. Fi­nally, H.R.3003 would en­sure that il­le­gal im­mi­grants who wind up in cus­tody for crimes will not be re­leased back onto our streets and will not have the chance to com­mit ad­di­tional crimes.

I am thank­ful that House Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee Chair­man Bob Good­latte rec­og­nized the need for this im­por­tant leg­is­la­tion and was will­ing to work with me and Grant’s fa­ther, Steve Ron­nebeck, to en­sure its pas­sage in the U.S. House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives. I am also thank­ful for Pres­i­dent Trump’s com­mit­ment to im­mi­gra­tion en­force­ment in the early months of his pres­i­dency. Ear­lier this year, Pres­i­dent Trump signed an ex­ec­u­tive or­der which elim­i­nated catch and re­lease and sanc­tu­ary city poli­cies. H.R.3003 cod­i­fies the poli­cies in his ex­ec­u­tive or­der to en­sure no fu­ture pres­i­dent can uni­lat­er­ally change them. I look for­ward to H.R. 3003’s swift con­sid­er­a­tion in the U.S. Se­nate and be­ing signed into law by Pres­i­dent Trump.

No ju­ris­dic­tion should have the op­por­tu­nity to ben­e­fit from fed­eral tax­payer dol­lars while bla­tantly vi­o­lat­ing fed­eral law


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