Larry Klayman
S.F. killing proves Sheriff Joe's amnesty challenge
By Larry Klayman
July 13, 2015

A recent tragedy in San Francisco – which actually has been repeated thousands of times around the country – underscores the importance of Sheriff Joe Arpaio's lawsuit against amnesty and proves the strength of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office's standing to bring Arpaio's lawsuit. Arpaio brought the lawsuit because of the impact on crime.

As I file this on Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit held a second hearing on President Barack Obama's illegal executive order granting amnesty to illegal aliens. On the streets of New Orleans outside the court, self-identified illegal aliens and amnesty activists held up a huge, yellow banner proclaiming "SHUT down ICE" (the Immigration and Customs Enforcement service of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.)

In other words, led by the lawless ACLU, activists want the entire immigration enforcement arm of the U.S. government (ICE) shut down nationwide. They want to stop all enforcement of the immigration laws passed by Congress. Yet that is exactly what San Francisco did within its city limits. Now we have seen the obvious and natural consequences.

On Friday, amnesty activists displayed offensively bad taste and an outrageous tin ear outside the appeals court in New Orleans the day after Kathryn Steinle's funeral. She was murdered by an illegal alien in the sanctuary city of San Francisco. Those seeking to turn the United States into a lawless country and a banana republic have obviously learned nothing.

Kathryn Steinle was gunned down walking with her father on a San Francisco pier, shot in the chest on Pier 14 on what is called the Embarcadero. This vibrant, lovely young woman was laid to rest at only 32 years old on Thursday at a private memorial with her friends and family near her hometown of Pleasanton, California. She was praised at the memorial as "a strong and spiritual anchor" for those who knew her, full of life. Now, unfortunately, Kathryn has left her life in San Francisco, not just her heart.

The illegal alien from Mexico who killed Kathryn – who admitted killing her in a jailhouse television interview – is 45-year-old Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez from Mexico. He has seven prior felony convictions and has been deported from the U.S. five times, most recently in 2009. He was jailed four months ago for selling illegal drugs. When released by local law enforcement, he should have been sent to federal immigration officials, as Immigration and Custom Enforcement spokeswoman Virginia Kice confirmed.

But Lopez-Sanchez also admitted in the interview that he was drawn to San Francisco because it is a "sanctuary city." He admitted that he knew he could avoid his criminal and deportation history and live unrestricted in San Francisco because of its sanctuary policy. Kathryn Steinle is dead because San Francisco announced that it would not allow the laws to be enforced within its territory. And that is the very same thing Obama announced in his Nov. 20, 2014, executive actions (actually, memoranda issued by Secretary Jeh Johnson). ICE had issued a "detainer" restricting Sanchez from being released. San Francisco rejected and defied the U.S. government's authority.

Meanwhile, even now, we are waiting to hear a decision on Obama's illegal executive order on amnesty in Arpaio's case. I already argued Arpaio's case in a hearing in front of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. We've already had oral argument, while the 5th Circuit is still hearing the companion case brought by 26 states.

Freedom Watch attorneys filed the first Arpaio challenge to Obama's amnesty of up to 6 million illegal aliens on Nov. 20, 2014. Sheriff Arpaio sued because his office is impacted by the crime wave resulting from illegal aliens. Few people realize that Maricopa County, Arizona, has about 4 million residents, making it larger than about half the states of the United States. That's a lot of crime from a lot of illegal aliens.

Sheriff Arpaio found out in a study that over 4,000 illegal aliens were in the Maricopa County jails during eight months in 2014. The illegal aliens were arrested for committing crimes in Maricopa County under Arizona law, such as child molestation, burglary, shoplifting and theft. But most disturbing, Arpaio found that one third of the 4,000 illegal aliens had already been arrested previously for having committed different crimes earlier within Maricopa County under Arizona law.

However, the Obama administration is routinely and unethically using challenges to "standing" to try to evade the law. The U.S. Department of Justice, especially under previous Attorney General Eric Holder, has been taking the attitude that, sure we broke the law, but nobody can do anything about it because nobody has "standing." Sheriff Arpaio's office has standing, as the tragedy in San Francisco demonstrates. Barack Obama's sanctuary policy for illegal aliens is causing a crime wave that is impacting Arpaio's law enforcement operations.

In a surprising confluence of events, data just released by the U.S. Sentencing Commission disclosed that illegal immigrants received almost 37 percent (36.7 percent) of all federal sentences imposed during 2014 and nearly three-quarters (74.1 percent) of all drug-related federal sentences imposed last year.

It is beyond all questions that illegal aliens commit more crimes than the general population of Americans. Defenders of open borders, such as the ACLU and its ultra-leftist, socialist comrades, are furiously spinning the theme that "immigrants" – not illegal immigrants, but legal immigrants – commit fewer crimes than the general population of Americans. But that makes sense. Those who are going through proper legal channels for immigration can lose it all if they are convicted of crimes. They have invested too much in legal fees, paperwork, hard work and bureaucracy to gain legal status. They have too much to lose by breaking any laws in the United States. The inefficient and burdensome U.S. government makes it hard to apply legally. Those who endure the hard work don't take chances. Those who go through legal channels are more responsible by inclination.

The country is now – finally – properly engaged in a debate over whether the flood of illegal aliens crossing our borders leads to an increase in crime. One of the fundamental precepts of law enforcement, prosecutors and courts has always been that those who commit crimes are likely to commit more crimes. A defendant's past criminal history is considered during sentencing. Those who disrespect the law are more likely to keep breaking the law. So more severe sentencing is required.

So we are now waiting decisions from two federal appellate courts. The same three-judge panel in New Orleans that turned down the Obama administration's emergency appeal on May 27 is hearing its primary appeal. And Freedom Watch seeks with Sheriff Arpaio a parallel decision in the District of Columbia to be sure Obama's amnesty is permanently halted. See for the court pleadings.

© Larry Klayman


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Larry Klayman

Larry Klayman, founder of Judicial Watch and Freedom Watch, is known for his strong public interest advocacy in furtherance of ethics in government and individual freedoms and liberties... (more)


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