…in which a Kate Steinle murder could happen any minute.
Not that anyone would notice, because after all in New Orleans murders aren’t even news at present. When you’re barely halfway through the year, and there are nevertheless 100 murders, what’s one more carcass on the side of the road?
And furthermore, having a bunch of violent criminals here illegally from foreign lands setting up house in Orleans Parish couldn’t possibly add to the threat posed by the locals, right?
So maybe it isn’t such a big deal that the political leadership of New Orleans opted two years ago to stop cooperating with the federal government by refusing to detain illegal criminals so ICE could come in and deport them.
At the time, Louisiana’s then-junior senator David Vitter blasted a furious letter to Orleans Parish sheriff Marlin Gusman with some of the most choice language you’ll hear from a political leader of that stature…
August 22, 2013
The Honorable Marlin N. Gusman
Orleans Parish Sheriff
819 South Broad Street
New Orleans, LA 70119-7418
Dear Sheriff Gusman:
Recently, you announced that you have reversed your previous policy and are now actively preventing federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) personnel from enforcing federal immigration laws. This dangerous change in policy essentially makes New Orleans a “sanctuary city” and violates federal law.
I urge you to revert to your previous policy by cooperating with federal immigration enforcement officials as mandated by federal law. If you do not, I am very concerned that this will kill all efforts to procure any new, additional federal funds to help deal with your federal consent decree obligations or for any other New Orleans law enforcement purpose.
As stated, your new policy is a blatant violation of federal immigration law. In 1996, Congress passed a law that specifically prohibits state and local governments from enacting sanctuary policies. The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act § 642(a) states: “Notwithstanding any other provision of Federal, State, or local law, a Federal, State, or local government entity or official may not prohibit, or in any way restrict, any government entity or official from sending to, or receiving from, the Immigration and Naturalization Service information regarding the citizenship or immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of any individual.”
Despite this clear expression of congressional intent, some very liberal, anti-enforcement state and local governments continue to enact policies that actively frustrate enforcement of federal immigration laws. They have been rightly dubbed “sanctuary cities.” To address this problem, I introduced legislation that prevents sanctuary jurisdictions from receiving Community Oriented Policing Service Programs (COPS) grants from the federal government. Sadly, your new policy puts New Orleans at the top of the list of law-breaking sanctuary cities. As you know, this was stated and celebrated by several ultra-left, anti-enforcement organizations upon your announcement.
Equally concerning to me is the message that your recent announcement sends to the country and to illegal aliens. Orleans Parish has already received horrible nationwide press surrounding the out-of-control dysfunction of the Orleans Parish Prison. Instead of addressing needed reforms to the Orleans Parish Prison, you are telling the country that you will actively prevent federal enforcement of immigration law. What an embarrassment.
This public embrace of sanctuary policy also tells every illegal alien listening to break U.S. law, come on over, and come to New Orleans in particular. In some cases, this puts residents of Orleans Parish in harm’s way unnecessarily; we know of many instances in which an illegal alien is released by local authorities and then commits a fatal crime. This also further depresses wage rates in New Orleans in an already very sluggish economy. This particularly hurts those already struggling with relatively low wage rates.
For all of these reasons, I again urge you to comply with federal law and fully cooperate with federal immigration enforcement. If you do not, I am very concerned that this will kill all efforts to procure any new, additional federal funds to help deal with your federal consent decree obligations or for any other New Orleans law enforcement purpose.
New Orleans’ problems are far greater than whether it’s a sanctuary city, after all – the city is covered with potholes, its economy is slowing down due to an avalanche of stupid policy choices over the past two years, it’s in hock to its firefighters for staggering amounts of money, its law enforcement has ceased to function in any legitimate sense and its political class is busy playing ISIS with the historical monuments of insufficient political correctness amid all the carnage.
But since we’re looking at sanctuary cities across the country with outrage in the wake of the Kate Steinle murder and a spate of other violent events involving sanctuary cities and criminal illegals, let’s just remember that New Orleans has joined that lawbreaking club. Maybe that fact ought to be taken into consideration in next year’s legislative session, and the city defenestrated in the state budget until such time as it is brought in line with the law.
UPDATE: Meanwhile, today Vitter filed an amendment to wipe out all federal funding for sanctuary cities. Here he is on the floor of the Senate introducing the amendment…