by Juan Carlos Polanco, Esq., MBA
Hard to think the man whose name shrouds so many places in Gotham could be so sophomoric as to make awful and reckless statements about Mexicans and undocumented immigrants. What’s even more troubling is that the remarks were made while announcing his presidential run.
What a fail!
The reality is that the overwhelming numbers of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. are good, decent, honest and hard working. Donald Trump caused a firestorm with his offensive, racist, ignorant comments and now close to ten reputable companies have cut ties to him in the days since.
But are we really surprised that illegal immigration is an issue that an ultra-conservative like Donald Trump clearly couldn’t care less about being diplomatic. Trump’s failure to apologize continues to hurt the Republican brand, especially here in New York.
As racist and offensive as Donald Trump was, we cannot allow his comments to distract us from the fact that we have a broken immigration system that needs fixing post-haste. The truth is that we have a broken immigration system that unfortunately enables criminal aliens to prey on innocents without regard or fear of punishment. Because of Trump’s intemperate remarks that reality will be overlooked.
However, when the New York City Council’s progressives removed U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from the Rikers Island jail facility, they turned a blind eye to the threat posed by criminal aliens in the undocumented community. Under mayors Giuliani and Bloomberg, ICE officials were notified of an offender’s immigration status. Today, that protocol is now gone and ICE will only be notified in the most extreme cases. The move was both illogical and dangerous. But NYC is not alone in such willful disregard of public safety.
Just last weekend in San Francisco, Kate Steinle was shot and killed by an undocumented immigrant, Juan Francisco Lopez Sanchez, while walking with her dad on a local boardwalk. Sanchez, who once served a decade in federal prison before being deported, has been deported a jaw-dropping six times. After being arrested on local charges, instead of being detained for ICE to take him into custody, this incorrigible was simply released by the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department because that ultra liberal city’s “sanctuary” ordinance.
According to Stephen Dinan of the Washington Times close to 70,000 undocumented immigrants, who are also criminal offenders, were released back onto American streets in the last two years. When examining the data, Dinan found listed among the 36,000 undocumented offenders released in 2013 were 193 homicide convictions, 426 sexual assault convictions, 303 kidnapping convictions and 16,070 convictions for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Liberal excuse-makers blame prison overcrowding and several billion dollars a year spent detaining those here illegally for the high number of offenders released onto our streets. The truth is that according to ICE, the home country won’t take their criminal nationals back and since we cannot imprison them indefinitely, our governments are forced to let these criminals back onto OUR streets.
Because of this danger, we cannot let Trump’s racist language and clownish behavior distract us from finding real solutions to a serious legal and humanitarian issue. Many of these criminals are smuggled by “coyotes” across our porous borders. There are no background checks. There are no police records from their home country. And since identity is not ascertained, we cannot readily eliminate the criminal element. Consequently, killers, drunk drivers, sexual offenders, dead beat dads and other scoundrels will disappear into our society and roam untraceable. That is, until they commit some heinous act.
The City Council’s closure of ICE offices on Rikers is truly baffling. The irony is this policy hurts those innocent, hard working undocumented immigrants who deserve to live in safety while they are here.
So yes, shame on Donald Trump –and I hope he pays a heavy price– but shame on us if we don’t get the City Council to repeal its misguided and dangerous “sanctuary” law.
Donald Trump, you’re fired! Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and her progressive cohorts, you’re fired!
Juan Carlos “J.C.” Polanco, a former Bronx Commissioner and President of the NYC Board of Elections, is an attorney, the NYC Regional Director for the State Assembly Minority Leader and teaches at the City University of New York. J.C. appears regularly on NY1 Inside City Hall, Pura Politica, CNN, Fox News, Bronxnet Open and Univision 41.