Jim Kouri
Sheriff takes "Sanctuary City" policy to the extreme
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By Jim Kouri
September 5, 2010

The top cop for a major California county may prove to be the polar opposite of Arizona's Sheriff Joe Arpaio. San Francisco Sheriff Michael Hennessey is vigorously working to withdraw from a federally mandated program that checks criminals' immigration status because it violates the area's sanctuary policies.

Sheriff Hennessey is hailed as a progressive law enforcement commander — while Sheriff Arpaio is being vigorously investigated sued by President Barack Obama's Justice Department — because Hennessey operates the county jails, and for months has tried to gain an exemption from a program (Secure Communities) that requires local authorities to check the fingerprints of arrestees against a federal database.

Hennessey — San Francisco's Sheriff since 1979 — is the consummate liberal-left politician. For instance, he said he's not ready to jump on board with suggestions of legalizing any and all drugs, regulating them, and taxing them. "I'd like to give more thought to heroin and methamphetamines and that kind of stuff. Also, I think it'd be very hard to regulate it and tax it."

The idea of Secure Communities, which is run by the Homeland Security Department's Immigration & Customs Enforcement directorate, or ICE, is to deport dangerous criminal aliens, many of whom have fallen through the cracks over the years, according to officials from a public-interest group that investigates political corruption.

But Hennessey is outspoken about his belief that complying with Secure Communities — a federal law — violates San Francisco's longtime sanctuary law, which forbids public employees and police from asking anyone about their immigration status.

"The famously liberal city by the bay also offers illegal aliens official government identification cards and all sorts of taxpayer-financed public benefits," said officials at the public-interest group Judicial Watch.

These so-called sanctuary-city policies have proven themselves to protect violent criminal aliens from deportation, including those who have been convicted of heinous crimes such as homicide, rapes, sexual assaults of children, drug trafficking and other felonies.

Just this year, law enforcement officials revealed that the killer of Chandra Levy — one of the biggest and most media-covered crime cases of the new millennium — was in fact an illegal alien from El Salvador who was already serving a prison sentence for similar attacks on American women.

In another case a MS-13 gang member with two felony convictions murdered a father and his two sons because San Francisco law enforcement agencies never turned him over to federal authorities for removal. Secure Communities was implemented nationwide in 2008 precisely to avoid situations like those, according to attorneys at Judicial Watch.

"There is something truly rotten in Denmark and in the Obama White House. On the one hand, the Obama political power-structure is attempting to torpedo a sheriff who is attempting to protect Americans in Arizona; and on the other hand, a sheriff in San Francisco boldly admits he's ignoring a federal statute. Does anyone else in Washington understand the absurdity here?" asks former police detective now security firm owner Sid Franes.

Incredibly, Sheriff Hennessey's priority is to continue shielding illegal aliens from deportation even when they commit crimes in the community he's been elected to protect. Earlier this year Hennessey formally requested that California's attorney general exempt his agency from participating in Secure Communities and when the request was denied, he asked the feds directly, according to Judicial Watch attorneys investigating this case.

In rejecting the exemption request California's attorney general said that Secure Communities "serves both public safety and the interests of justice" because it "advances an important law enforcement function by identifying those individuals who are in the country illegally and who have a history of serious crimes or who have previously been deported."

Meanwhile, California's Governor Arnold Schwartzennegger is silent, although he's shown tremendous sympathy towards illegal aliens in his state. This turnaround surprised many of his early supporters since as a newly elected governor he pondered the creation of a state-run border patrol in California.

© Jim Kouri

 

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Jim Kouri

Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police... (more)

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