By Debra J. Saunders
Published: Wednesday, July 8, 2015 – 5:00 pm
Democrats now will say anything to distance themselves from sanctuary city policies, even though they have supported these policies for years. In an exclusive CNN interview Tuesday, Hillary Rodham Clinton was asked about San Francisco’s refusal to hand over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement seven-time convicted felon and five-time deportee Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez. He stands accused in the fatal shooting of Kathryn Steinle as she took an evening stroll on Pier 14 last week. (After telling a local TV station he shot Steinle by accident, Lopez-Sanchez has pleaded not guilty to murder.) Clinton answered, “The city made a mistake not to deport someone that the federal government strongly felt should be deported. So I have absolutely no support for a city that ignores the strong evidence that should be acted on.”
In a 2007 Democratic presidential debate, the late Tim Russert asked Clinton if she would allow sanctuary cities to disobey federal law. “Well, I don’t think there is any choice,” she answered. Immigrants may not talk to police if “they think you’re also going to be enforcing the immigration laws.” She did not add a caveat that she wanted local law enforcement to work with immigration officials if the federal government had strong feelings that an individual should be deported.
In 2008, Clinton voted against an amendment to yank some federal funds from sanctuary cities. California Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer voted likewise — but it didn’t stop them from criticizing San Francisco for releasing a repeat offender.
“The 2008 budget amendment was a choice between sending a political message or funding California law enforcement, and I chose to fund the police,” Feinstein explained in an e-mail. “I continue to believe we can deport criminals who are undocumented and still support law enforcement.”
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