Sheriff Michael Hennessey is well known for his permissive views regarding immigration. One indication is how he stated a year ago that the federal Secure Communities program would interfere with San Francisco’s sanctuary policy of protecting unlawful foreigners. The program has caused the deaths of several, including three members of the Bologna family who were murdered by a previously arrested illegal alien gangster.
Sheriff Hennessey must have missed the dust-up surrounding Arizona’s strict enforcement law SB1070 where the Obama Justice Department said that immigration was a federal responsibility only and sued the state over that idea.
Recently the Sheriff announced he would begin releasing illegal aliens onto the streets of San Francisco, in defiance of the Secure Communities law. The lucky aliens to be released have been arrested on charges deemed minor, including disorderly conduct, drunk in public and shoplifting.
Does the minor charge category include drunk driving, a crime which has resulted in the deaths of many Americans? Unclear.
Furthermore, Hennessey’s act of defiance may catch on in other liberal sanctuary communities, where public safety is not valued. In fact, Gov. Pat Quinn has announced that he will withdraw Illinois from Secure Communities.
ICE: SF Sheriff’s Decision To Release Some Undocumented Immigrants “Unfortunate”, by Bay City News, May 6, 2011
San Francisco Sheriff Michael Hennessey said today he will soon begin releasing undocumented immigrants held in county jail for low-level offenses even if federal immigration officials request that they be held as part of its controversial Secure Communities program.
The program, which requires fingerprints of undocumented immigrants booked into local jails to be shared with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials, will not apply as of June 1 to people arrested for low-level misdemeanors in San Francisco, Hennessey said.
The sheriff said the decision to ignore Secure Communities requests to hold the low-level offenders came after a talk last November with David Venturella, the director of the program.
“During the course of that meeting, he revealed that ICE detainers are not binding on a law enforcement agency to honor,” Hennessey said. “They’re merely a request to hold the person, not a legally binding warrant.”
He said he also reviewed San Francisco’s sanctuary law and says his new policy is in line with the local policy.
“I’m enforcing the county law, and not violating either federal or state law,” Hennessey said.
ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice said Hennessey’s decision “is unfortunate.”
Kice said, “The identification and removal of many criminal aliens would not be possible without the cooperation of our state and local law enforcement partners.
She said, “ICE detainers are an effective tool to ensure that individuals arrested on criminal charges, who are also in violation of U.S. immigration law, are not released back into the community to potentially commit more crimes.”