An Op-Ed That Can't Be Reconciled with Its Author's Legislative Efforts

By Dan Cadman on October 30, 2017

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mike McCaul (R-Texas) has written an op-ed for National Review Online, "California Is Building the Wrong Wall: Its new 'sanctuary state' law protects criminals and sets up barriers between local and federal law-enforcement agencies".

In his op-ed, McCaul discusses the recent signing into law by Democratic Governor Jerry Brown of California SB 54, a terrible piece of legislation that turns all of California into a sanctuary for illegal aliens; specifically, illegal alien criminals who are arrested by police, whom federal authorities want to take custody of once state proceedings are finished. He says, in pertinent part:

On October 5, Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill Number 54, which includes the California Values Act. This law, which will take effect in January 2018, codifies California as a "sanctuary state." This irresponsible action presents a new set of dangers by limiting the discretion of California law-enforcement agencies to cooperate with federal officials for immigration-enforcement purposes. It also specifically prohibits California law-enforcement agencies from assigning officers to work on task forces "for purposes of immigration enforcement."

While this may be a successful attempt to score points with the far-left base of the Democratic party, it could bring unintended and negative consequences that would threaten the safety of our citizens.

We cannot allow this kind of dysfunction to continue. Unfortunately, there are still many jurisdictions that are voluntarily putting up dangerous roadblocks to cooperation. One of the tools that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) can use to fight crime stemming from illegal immigration is known as a "detainer." This is a request to a local law-enforcement agency to either hold an individual already in its custody or notify ICE when an individual in custody is due to be released.

He's right, as evidenced by the innumerable crimes committed by recidivist aliens who are released by police in various jurisdictions throughout the country — including several in various California cities and counties (see here and here) — rather than turning them over for removal proceedings. One such horrendous crime that gained national attention happened in San Francisco, when Katherine Steinle was shot to death by an illegal alien; she died in her father's arms. The perpetrator, a multiple felon and deportee, was released by the San Francisco sheriff rather than being tendered to federal agents, which is why he was on the streets to commit the crime. His trial has just begun.

McCaul clearly understands the problem well. That's why I'm unable to reconcile his op-ed with the bill he has sponsored in Congress, H.R. 3548, the "Border Security for America Act of 2017", which I have examined and reviewed twice now, both in its original and its amended forms (see here and here).

One of the shortcomings of the original bill, which has survived in the newer version, is that McCaul's measure would provide funding for state, tribal, and local governments in a number of programs, including the Border Patrol-sponsored "Operation Stone Garden", yet, as I noted in my first review, "[q]uite simply, McCaul has inserted absolutely no language in here limiting recipients of Stonegarden funds to those agencies that also fully cooperate with all DHS immigration enforcement entities, including through honoring of detainers. How could this bill not include such language? It's beyond comprehension."

Seeing the op-ed makes me even more convinced that the bill's failure to penalize sanctuaries is incomprehensible.