Latest Federal Data Shows that Sanctuaries Aren’t Safe Places

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By Joe Guzzardi

Joe is a CAPS Senior Writing Fellow whose commentaries about California's social issues have run in newspapers throughout California and the country for nearly 30 years. Contact Joe at, or find him on Twitter @joeguzzardi19.

The writer's views are his own.

October 12, 2017
Gov. Jerry Brown
SB 54 will have its day in court.
In the wake of the California State Legislator’s decision to become a sanctuary state, and Governor Jerry Brown’s signature on SB 54, recent federal data proves that critics who assert that releasing criminal aliens is risky business are right.

According to federal records, 92 percent of the 97,482 illegal immigrants arrested this year have been convicted of a crime, have charges pending, were immigration fugitives from justice or had been previously deported.

The statistics undermine immigration advocates’ claims that Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents irresponsibly target aliens who, except for their illegal entry, are otherwise law-abiding.

In his 70-point immigration principles, President Trump listed suggestions that would help abolish sanctuary cities and protect the innocent residents that live in them. Among President Trump’s proposals are to authorize and incentivize states and localities to help enforce federal immigration laws, to strengthen law enforcement by hiring 10,000 more ICE officers and 300 federal prosecutors, to end visa overstays by establishing reforms to ensure their swift removal, to stop catch-and-release by correcting judicial actions that prevent ICE from keeping dangerous aliens in custody pending removal, to expand the criteria for expedited removal, and to prevent gang members from receiving federal benefits.

SB 54 doesn’t go into effect until January 2018 which leaves the Department of Justice two and a half months to challenge it. In 1996, a bill President Bill Clinton signed a bill that banned sanctuary policies, the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act which could provide the legal foundation to overturn SB 54. In the end, the Supreme Court may have to decide SB 54’s fate. If California loses, and President Clinton’s legislation suggests that it will, then the state will be forced to end its sanctuary status.

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