No, Kate, It Wasn’t a Sanctuary City for You

By | December 1, 2017 | 4 Comments

  Kathryn Michelle Steinle                Jose Ines Garcia Zarate
.                                                         aka Juan Lopez Sanchez

Five-time deportee and repeat drug offender shoots and kills 32-year-old woman at tourist attraction, after San Francisco authorities refuse to honor immigration hold and release him from jail.
News report

Every time a little thing like this happens, they use the most extreme example to say it should be eliminated. [Emphasis added.]
U.S. Representative Luis Gutierrez

We will end the sanctuary cities that have resulted in so many needless deaths.
Donald Trump

San Francisco jury acquits Garcia Zarate of all charges from second-degree murder to involuntary manslaughter, finding him guilty only of being a felon in possession of a firearm – which carries a penalty of 16 months to 3 years in jail. But in view of time served, he might even be released ‒ again. Defense lawyers hail the verdict as triumph of justice.
News report, Nov. 30, 2017

Those who are kind to the cruel will in the end be cruel to the kind.

“Sanctuary city” is a euphemism for a place where local officials have decided to ignore federal law. But not just any federal law – only immigration law.

The meaning is clear: “We have decided not to cooperate with federal immigration authorities. We have decided not to honor immigration holds placed on inmates of our jails. Instead of notifying immigration officers as requested, we will release these inmates to roam free and do whatever they intend to do. Have a nice day.”

Of course, this term would never be used if local officials were conservative, and decided to ignore federal laws regarding environmental protection, or gun registration, or income-tax collection, for example. Oh no, such local officials would be called law-breakers, or inciters of insurrection, or even traitors. They would be hauled before federal magistrates and charged with serious offenses. Their careers would be over.

True, this is speculation – it never happened. That’s not the way conservatives behave. If they disagree with a law, they work to have it repealed or amended. On the contrary, the opposite actually did happen. Arizona was dissatisfied with the lackadaisical enforcement of immigration laws by the Obama administration. So Arizona enacted a law mirroring federal law, so that local police could enforce it.

But what happened? The administration went to federal court, and the judge threw out the Arizona law. The judge declared that regulating immigration is the prerogative of the federal government, and that states and cities have no power to control it.

Note the colossal contradiction. Immigration is a federal prerogative, so states and localities have no power to help enforce federal law. But they do have power to disobey and obstruct federal law. Really? On what planet? In what legal system, or in what logical system, do localities lack the power to help enforce a law, but do have power to obstruct that law? That’s not just illogical, it’s delusional.

The key question is this: “Sanctuary cities” are sanctuaries for whom?

To help answer this question, consider this quote:

Our people are hurting, and they feel afraid.
– José Gomez, Archbishop of Los Angeles,

Archbishop Gomez spoke two days after the presidential election in November 2016. Donald Trump would not take office until January 20, 2017. Some people may have felt afraid, but hurting? Who was hurting them? Archbishop Gomez was born in Mexico. He is an American citizen; whether he holds dual citizenship is not stated. He was appointed by Pope Francis, who was born in Argentina.

The archbishop apparently was speaking for the approximately three million Latinos in his archdiocese. But the archdiocese of Los Angeles, the largest Catholic archdiocese in the United States, has about five million total congregants. Was he also speaking for the two million non-Latinos?

The archbishop’s message on the election, posted on the website of the archdiocese, is headed by a photo of Trump. But oddly, the photo appears on a TV monitor in a coffee shop in Tel Aviv, and is accompanied by large Hebrew letters. Of all the photos of a victorious Trump in the United States media, and worldwide as well, why select one with Hebrew text above it? What was Archbishop Gomez trying to imply? Clearly, Gomez dislikes Trump, or at least dislikes his policies. But why imply a connection to Jews? Perhaps I am making something out of nothing. Perhaps not.

But when Archbishop Gomez refers to “our people,” whom does he mean? Americans? Mexicans? Christians? Catholics? Latinos? Illegal immigrants? Law-abiding immigrants? All immigrants? All law-abiding people? All people? Who constitute “our people”? The archbishop didn’t say.

Regardless of liberal dogma and popular music, you can’t love “all the peoples of the earth.”

● You can love the peace-loving, or the violent.

● You can love the law-abiding, or the law-breaking.

● You can love the innocent, or the guilty.

● You can love the victim, or the attacker.

● You can love children in overcrowded classrooms, or you can love people streaming across the border.

● You can love children from Asia or Africa who want classes in English, not Spanish, or you can love people streaming across the border.

● You can love patients in overcrowded public hospitals, or you can love people streaming across the border.

● You can love inmates of overcrowded jails and prisons, or you can love people streaming across the border.

● You can love overburdened social workers, or you can love people streaming across the border.

● You can love unemployed Americans seeking jobs, or you can love people streaming across the border.

● You can love American workers who want a living wage, or you can love people streaming across the border.

● You can love a young woman who works for a medical-device company as she walks at a tourist attraction with her father, or you can love a five-time deportee who was arrested on drug charges in three states.

But you can’t love both.

To claim you do only cheapens the precious word “love” until it becomes virtually meaningless.

To claim you do reduces “I love you” to “I have no immediate plans to harm you, but I don’t really care if someone else harms you.”

To claim you do does nothing whatever for the one you purport to “love,” but merely makes you feel good about yourself.

To claim you do demonstrates narcissism – that is, self-love, the opposite of real love.

The law is not a buffet, where we can bypass the veggies and load up on desserts. The law is a sit-down dinner, where we take what we are served and make the best of it. Does Los Angeles, where I live, have the right to ignore federal laws it dislikes – for example, immigration? Then why don’t I have the right to ignore city ordinances I dislike – for example, parking restrictions? Once we start down the road of ignoring laws we dislike, where do we stop?

Will the Confederate flag, so despised by “progressives,” be raised over Los Angeles or San Francisco City Hall? Before you dismiss this idea as absurd, recall that some “progressives” are promoting the secession of California from the United States. And this because they agree with the agenda of an organization called La Raza, the race. Yes, the Stars and Bars might be an appropriate symbol for secessionists who see “race” as crucially important.

The voters of California, which vies with Massachusetts for the title of most “progressive” state, voted for the third time to retain the death penalty. But there are no executions, because judges and state officials oppose the death penalty. Still, it is incorrect to say that California has no death penalty. It has no death penalty for people like Jose Garcia Zarate. But it does have a death penalty for people like Kathryn Steinle.

We can have a sanctuary city that is safe for Kate Steinle, or safe for Jose Garcia Zarate, but not safe for both. We can have a city that is safe for a young woman to go to a tourist attraction with her father, or safe for a repeat criminal to roam free, but not safe for both.

We have to choose between Kathryn Steinle and Jose Garcia Zarate. We have to choose whether we will be kind to the kind, or kind to the cruel. Well, which will it be? Kate’s last words were, “Help me, Dad.” Her father couldn’t help. But we can. We can honor her memory by heeding the Bible, which commands us not to stand by idly when our neighbor’s blood is shed.

And now, we also have to decide what we will do about this verdict. I suggest:

  1. Boycott San Francisco. If law-abiding people aren’t safe on its streets, and their killers literally get away with murder, why go there?
  2. File federal civil-rights charges against the killer. If this was good enough for Klansmen in Mississippi who couldn’t be convicted in local courts, it’s good enough for Garcia Zarate.
  3. Pass federal laws forbidding “sanctuary cities” from receiving federal funds for law enforcement, or better still, for anything at all.
  4. View sympathy as we view money – to be spent on necessities, not squandered on worthless trash.
  5. Look deep within ourselves to discover what is wrong with us as a people. Those who tolerate the intolerable and are cruel to the kind may not survive as a society – and what is worse, they won’t deserve to survive.
  6. Build the wall.

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  • I have lived in the U.S. all my life, and I’m no longer young. In all this time, I have never received a “request” from any governmental agency. Have you?
    When I got my first job, I had to get a Social Security number.
    When I wanted to drive, I had to go to the DMV and get a license.
    When I bought a car, I had to register it and renew the registration annually, and now get a smog check every two years.
    When I got a traffic or parking citation, I had to pay it.
    When I first made money – and every year since – I had to file federal and state tax returns.
    When I finished my internship, I had to apply for a medical license and be fingerprinted.
    When I got my medical license, I had to apply for a federal license to prescribe controlled substances.
    When I received a draft notice, I had to show up.
    When I applied for my Army commission, I had to be fingerprinted again.
    When I went to work at L.A. County General Hospital, I had to be fingerprinted yet again.
    When I got married, I had to get a marriage license.
    When my wife and I bought a house, we had to file the deed, and then we had to pay property taxes annually.
    When my taxes were audited, I had to show up with supporting documents. Etc., etc., etc.

    Not one of all these was a “request,” it was an order to be obeyed…or else. Yet now, we read that local authorities can refuse federal “requests” to hold illegal immigrants in jail until ICE can collect them for deportation. Say what? If I had refused to obey any of these governmental demands, I would have been penalized. Yet now, local officials face no penalty whatever for refusing federal “requests” for immigration holds. How about a $500 fine for the first offense, and a $1000 fine and possible jail time for subsequent offenses?

    Governments don’t make “requests,” they issue orders. Why should this be any different?

  • Marge Brackett says:

    You may not be a racist but you know you sound like one. “People streaming across the border.” Really!

    • Suppose things had gone the other way. Suppose Kate Steinle had been walking at the tourist attraction. Suppose she had found a pistol, picked it up, played with it, pulled the trigger (the only way it can fire), and killed Jose Garcia Zarate. What then? She would have been arrested, probably for second-degree murder. Firing a gun in a crowded area shows “depraved indifference to human life.” No motive is needed. She probably would have been allowed to plead guilty to manslaughter and required to serve a prison sentence – and been a convicted felon all her life. She would have been accused of being a racist, thoughtless twit who carelessly killed a poor Mexican immigrant who had come seeking a better life.

      Anyone speaking up for her, calling the shooting an accident, pointing out that she knew nothing about guns, would be called a racist and even a proponent of genocide.

      I believe that the outer few millimeters of skin are utterly meaningless. I believe that everyone should be treated the same – “equal justice under law.” I believe that anyone who fires a gun carelessly in a public area is guilty of manslaughter at least, and probably second-degree murder – the same as one who shoots a gun in the air on New Year’s Eve, and the bullet comes down and hits a person in the head.

      I believe that anyone who believes race is important, and treats people differently because of race, is by definition a racist. I believe the exact opposite.

  • It gets even worse. Conservative students at U.C. Berkeley held a small candlelight vigil for Kate Steinle. They left posted a large photo of Kate. The next morning they found the photo crumpled in the trash. I’m pretty good with words, but the only words I can find to describe this abomination are unprintable.

    I grew up in San Francisco, but it’s no longer my city. I graduated from U.C. Berkeley, but it’s no longer my school. I can’t recognize them. At some point, political differences grow so great that they become a moral gulf. Those who create a “sanctuary” city that embraces Juan Garcia Zarate, but not Kate Steinle, and those who even insult her memory, have a fundamentally different value system – one which I find alien and repugnant.

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