Time to SLAP Lawbreaking Lawmakers
The Stopping Lawless Actions of Politicians Act would punish officials who flout immigration law.
It is legislation whose time has come. On Monday, Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN) introduced a bill that aims to hold politicians accountable when they allow the progressive agenda to trump the Rule of Law.
The Stopping Lawless Actions of Politicians Act, a.k.a. the SLAP Act, would impose criminal penalties on state and local lawmakers who refuse to comply with the efforts of federal immigration officers to enforce federal immigration law. Anyone convicted under the statute would be subjected to a $1 million fine, and up to five years in prison.
“The American people are rightfully infuriated watching politicians put their open-borders ideology before the rule of law, and the safety of the people they represent,” Rokita stated in an email press release. “Politicians don’t get to pick and choose what laws to comply with. Americans are dying because politicians sworn to uphold the law refuse to do so. It’s time the federal government gets serious about enforcing immigration laws and holding politicians accountable who conspire to break them.”
The last two sentences of that release will undoubtedly resonate with millions of Americans:
“This elitist mentality that everyone is not equal under the law must come to an end,” it stated. “These politicians want one set of rules for hard working Americans, but a different set of rules for illegal immigrants, and themselves.”
That would be globalist elites and their legions of activist supporters, all of whom remain firmly convinced that national sovereignty is anachronistic, and that anything resembling the traditional customs and culture that illuminate our nation’s exceptionalism constitute xenophobia or “white privilege.”
As the adage goes, in politics, timing is everything. Thus it is likely that last week’s acquittal of illegal alien Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, who had been charged with the 2015 murder of 32-year-old Steinle on a San Francisco pier, provided much of the impetus behind the bill.
Zarate, previously known as Juan Francsico Lopez-Sanchez, is a seven-time convicted felon who had been deported five times. He was released to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) by the Federal Bureau of Prisons following the completion of a prison sentence for illegal re-entry on March 26, 2015. He was transferred to the San Francisco County Sheriff’s Department where he faced a 1995 charge for selling marijuana. When that charge was dismissed, he was released — because the Department decided to ignore ICE’s request to detain him for deportation. That decision was engendered by San Francisco’s deplorable “sanctuary city” policy. A policy that codifies defiance of federal immigration law.
That defiance cost Kate Steinle her life.
And while Zarate’s acquittal was a combination of prosecutorial over-reach and possible jury nullification, the lack of remorse remains breathtaking. “From day one, this case was used as a means to foment hate, to foment division and to foment a program of mass deportation,” asserted public defender Francisco Ugarte. “San Francisco is and always will be a sanctuary city,” declared Ellen Canale, a spokeswoman for Mayor Ed Lee.
No doubt, if city officials can get away with it. During the Obama years, that was a given, courtesy of an administration that sued states like Arizona, South Carolina, Utah and Alabama for attempting to enforce federal immigration law it conspicuously ignored, while never filing a single lawsuit against any sanctuary city that defied the same statutes.
Moreover, a GOP-controlled Senate, demonstrating its typical lack of backbone, has already avoided the issue. Last June, the House passed both the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act and Kate’s Law. The former authorizes the Justice Department to withhold grants from cities and states that defy federal immigration law and ICE detention requests, while the latter would impose a mandatory minimum jail sentence on illegal aliens convicted of re-entering the United States, along with increased penalties for repeat offenders. Yet when both bills moved to the Senate they failed to overcome Democrat filibusters.
Moreover, when President Donald Trump issued an executive order to cut funding from cities that refuse to cooperate with the feds, Obama-appointee U.S. District Court Judge William Orrick issued a permanent injunction against it in November, based on the assertion that an executive order cannot override the Tenth Amendment.
In other words, it becomes even more imperative for Congress to enact the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act and Kate’s Law, even if it requires GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to invoke the nuclear option allowing a strict majority vote.
The reason why is clear. Since 2015, the number of sanctuary cities has increased from 340 in Oct. 2015 to nearly 500 by March 2017. Those cities have released more than 2,000 illegal aliens back onto the streets, defying ICE efforts to deport them.
Rokita wants to put a stop to that odious dynamic, one that rests on a foundation of pathetic excuses designed to obscure the American Left’s intent to “fundamentally transform” the United States. One excuse is that sanctuary cities are necessary because people here illegally might not report crimes if they think they might get deported as a result. An even worse excuse is that illegal commit less crimes than native Americans and are incarcerated at lower rates.
Not exactly. In 2014, the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Sentencing Commission revealed that more than 13% of those convicted and sentenced for crime in the United States were illegal aliens. Statistics compiled by the FBI and the Government Accountability Office between the years 2003 and 2009 revealed that illegals, who represent 3.5% of America’s total population, committed between 22% and 37% of all murders in the U.S.
More to the point, every crime committed by an illegal is one that would be wholly avoidable if immigration law was followed. Thus, what sanctuary city advocates are really saying is that a certain level of murder and mayhem is a “reasonable” tradeoff to maintain what amounts to open rebellion against the federal government.
Does a GOP-controlled Congress have the stomach for quashing what amounts to de facto anarchy? In a better nation, passing the three aforementioned statutes would be a no-brainer. In this one, a Democrat Party with short-term visions of amnesty that enable long-term visions of turning red states blue will likely stand with illegals — against their fellow Americans.
Republicans? Whether or not these bills see the light of day in the Senate and garner enough votes for passage will be a defining moment for a party that has allowed itself to be cowed by accusations of bigotry — or has been willing to do the bidding of their pro-amnesty campaign contributors in lieu of standing firm with their base.
“The death of Steinle and subsequent acquittal of the illegal immigrant charged with her death has reignited a debate over sanctuary cities,” insists columnist Conor Beck.
Debate? Going forward, America will either be a nation of laws or a nation of men. In short, America’s ruling class can either pass the SLAP Act — or slap a banana republic onto the backs of the American public.