American Elephants


The Obama Administration Has Quietly Revised Sanctuary City Policies. by The Elephant's Child

The Obama administration has revised its policies on “sanctuary” cities and counties. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will now have the first opportunity to take illegal aliens into custody and deport them.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch said, during a House budget hearing that the Bureau of Prisons would now allow ICE, rather than states and municipalities to take illegals into custody. “We have in the past deferred because…we work with local colleagues and want to make sure that they can adjudicate their cases as well” she said.

“Particularly where we’re dealing with a jurisdiction that is not prone to honoring ICE detainers…our policy is going to be that ICE will instead have the first detainer and that individual will go into ICE custody and deportation,” Lynch told the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies.

Sanctuary policies have meant that when Francisco Sanchez, a Mexican national with a long felony record, shot and killed Kathryn Steinle in broad daylight on a pier in San Francisco where she was walking with her father, it was a national embarrassment for the Obama administration. The Bureau of Prisons turned Sanchez over to the San Francisco sheriff’s office which had a marijuana case from the 1990s pending against him. ICE had submitted a detainer request for Sanchez, to deport him,but the sheriff complied with San Francisco’s sanctuary policies and released Sanchez back onto the streets. He is, however, now in custody and awaiting trial.

Lynch said the new policy may mean that municipalities may have local cases that will not be prosecuted because prisoners will be turned over to ICE and deported. The Steinle case made the national news and aroused public outrage, so the Justice Department has quietly revised policies. Whether local jurisdictions will alter their “sanctuary” policies remains to be seen. They would seem to be indefensible.


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