Tag Archives: Hillary Clinton

The Shameless Exploitation of A Tragedy In San Francisco


Crossposted from Medium

Photo Credit: NDLON

Photo Credit: NDLON

The tragic death of Kate Steinle in San Francisco, allegedly at the hands of an undocumented immigrant, has conservatives gleefully trying to vilify all immigrants as criminals, and liberal politicians scrambling for cover by trying to roll back hard-fought local sanctuary city protections that keep immigrant families together.

The mainstream media is leaving virtually no stone unturned in trying to turn Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, the alleged shooter, into the new Willie Horton even while all facts suggest that the fatal shooting was unintentional, and that sanctuary city policies have little to do with why Juan Lopez was still living in the United States even after being deported five times.

ICE could have deported Juan Carlos while he was in federal custody without any sort of removal proceedings; instead the agency turned him over to San Francisco to senselessly prosecute a 20 year old drug offense.

No one seems to be talking about the fact that the zealous desire to prosecute individuals for decades old low-level drug offenses seems to have played a large part in how the alleged shooter was transferred from federal ICE custody to officials in San Francisco.

News reports indicate that Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez had been deported previously five times. That made it easy to reinstate a previous order of removal and deport him from the United States after he had served his last sentence, and as everyone knows, ICE deports mothers, fathers and children quite easily even when they have a right to stay in the United States. However, instead of removing him to Mexico after 46 months in federal custody, the Bureau of Prisons reportedly turned him over to San Francisco to prosecute him for a 1995 low-level drug offense.

At a time when most jurisdictions are increasingly moving away from prosecuting low-level drug offenses, and even the federal government has indicated a desire to bury the war on drugs, it is mind-boggling that Juan was handed over to San Francisco for a 1995 outstanding charge for marijuana. It comes as no surprise that a local court dismissed the outstanding charge against Sanchez, and he was released from custody.

The shooting seems to lack premeditation.

Juan Lopez does not have a record of violent behavior. At worst, his extensive list of felonies for low-level drug offenses means he seemed to have a problem with drug addiction and abuse. Juan Lopez professes to have found a gun, registered to a federal agent, and accidentally shooting at the victim in this case, probably while he was under the influence. There is absolutely no record of violent crimes, let alone gun-related crimes, in his record. So there is no reason to doubt what he has confessed thus far — that the fatal shooting was an accident.

Why are politicians so bent on using this tragedy as a way to punish all San Franciscans by blowing it out of proportion? It’s easier to vilify and lay blame for a tragedy than find compassion and closure to move forward. If the best case against sanctuary cities and no detainer policies is that people can accidentally find guns on public park benches and fire them just as easily, perhaps those decrying such policies should focus their efforts elsewhere.

Which leads me to my next point: Why is it so easy to find and shoot a gun?

While records are still hazy, we know for a fact that the gun used in the shooting did not belong to Juan Lopez. It is registered to a federal agent with the Bureau of Land Management. How did Juan Lopez manage to get his hands on the gun belonging to a federal agent, and pull the trigger?

If was an accident like he claims, anyone, legally here or not, could have committed it, and it is wholly irrelevant that San Francisco has a sanctuary city policy. Instead of asking why Juan Lopez is still in the country, perhaps we should be asking why it is so easy to own, and fire a gun?

Handing Juan Carlos to ICE without a warrant would have exposed San Francisco to civil liabilities

A federal government request to detain an individual is not a judicial warrant, and carries no mandatory legal authority. Federal judges have actually found such ICE detainers to be unconstitutional. San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi has stated that he would have given Juan Carlos back to ICE if it had issued a warrant to detain him. The jurisdiction would be liable if it honored a faxed request or phone call to detain Sanchez for longer than necessary, rather than judicial warrant to hold him, so San Francisco was legally obligated to release him.

Given that Juan Carlos had no record of violent crime convictions, his subsequent release and implication in a fatal shooting was hardly foreseeable.

This policy of abiding by the spirit and letter of the law, has little to do with the fact that San Francisco is a sanctuary city where immigrant families can live safely. Many jurisdictions, conservative or liberal, are increasingly afraid to abide by ICE detainers, because it would subject them to lawsuits.

Quite often, when wrongly accused and likened to criminals in the mainstream media, our knee-jerk reaction is to show study after study that says immigrants commit less crimes than our U.S. born counterparts.

Now let me be clear that the numbers do seem to suggest that the number of immigrants and crime rates are inversely related. But this analysis throws incarcerated black men under the bus, rather than question the myriad of ways in which black and brown people are turned into criminals. The share of non-citizens who make up defendants in the federal criminal system has grown disproportionately in the past decade.

Many of the convictions levied against Juan Lopez were for low level drug offenses and illegal re-entry. Criminal convictions for re-entrying the country without authorization to be with our family members, or making a false claim to citizenship in order to provide a home for our children or loitering on public street corners in order to find a job, is turning immigrants into criminals faster than we can proclaim that not all immigrants are not criminals. Moreover, citizenship status is now the most salient factor in determining sentencing outcomes in criminal court. We may not be behind bars at the rates that black men are incarcerated, but we do get punished more harshly than our U.S.-born counterparts by virtue of our immigration status.

Perhaps advocacy efforts and resources should go towards reversing these troubling trends, and questioning how immigration enforcement continues to mine a questionable criminal justice system for people to deport, rather than making anti-black proclamations decrying immigrant criminality, and blowing a tragedy out of proportion in order to score cheap political points.

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Day 2 – The REAL democratic National Convention vs. the Police State

One after another, the women leaders of the Democrat National Party took center-stage on Day 2. The roster included Governor K. Selebius, Senator Mary Landrieu, Senator Claire McCaskill, Senator Debbie Stabenow, Senator Maria Cantwell, Governor Napolitano, and finally Hillary Clinton rounded up the day. The subliminal message was clear–women stand to gain more from a Barack Obama Presidency than a McCain one.

Yet, none of the women senators pointed out the gross injustice and violation of human and constitutional rights happening against women just outside their closed tent of the DNC–Code Pink (a women for peace group) supporters were among the many protesters holding a non-violent demonstration that were beaten and pepper-sprayed by cops. They were delegates that were unseated and unheard at the convention. Quite democratic, no?

DNC Rules Protest by andycarvin.

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Who will be the Democrat VP nominee? – If I was Barack Obama, I would pick ____________

Bill Richardson.

Now I don’t do “politics” but I may as well give an opinion since I do hold a couple of diplomas (now gathering dust) in political science pre-law/international relations/ethnic studies.

Alright, so the Hillary backers are saying they will vote for McCain. Go ahead, be my guest. 4 or maybe 8 more years of Bush-lite. I actually don’t believe the threat–It is petty, immature and a way of generating fear into the Obama camp and blackmailing them into giving Clinton a VP spot.

Is she a victim of sexism? Has the media been unnecessarily harsh on her because she is a woman? Is America more ready for a non-white President than a woman President? Maybe. I don’t know.

What I do know is that in light of anti-Hispanic immigrant scapegoating and growing Latino numbers in the country, considering that some Latino groups and members of the community are hesitant about a Barack Obama Presidency, and considering that New Mexico is a swing state, I would pick Bill Richardson for the ticket. Besides, Obama and Richardson have great chemistry.

Democrats can elect to be smart and capitalize on these points.

Would it incite a “race war?” Would it alienate the white working class? I don’t understand why someone like Clinton can inspire the white working class anyway–she is as elitist as they come.

“Governor Richardson has been nominated 5-times for the Nobel Peace Prize, is loved by labor, is highly experienced in foreign policy having negotiated successfully with the worst regimes, has been an extremely successful Governor of a red-state growing jobs, improving education, raising teachers’ salaries, raising wages and re-elected with 68% of the vote…”

Obama-Richardson Democratic Ticket

Obama/Richardson 2008?

Yes, we can / Si se puede.

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Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama on Immigration and the DREAM Act

I normally do not pay attention to what politicans say in their scripted speeches and any other simulation for mass consumption, but something Barack Obama said struck a personal chord.

He brought up the theme of ‘Two Americas’ while talking about how he wanted to make the DREAM Act a priority. “I do not want two classes of citizens in this country,” he said. “I want everybody to prosper.” What current immigration policy is doing is creating multitudes of classes but lets try to follow Obama’s dichotomy. He obviously cannot break out on national television and speak about “multitudes” of anything — Most of America would go “huh?” As undocumented students, we are another class of our own. We are honest, educated and cultured Americans who are denied the right to work, drive and face obstacles to higher education. Our daily lives are full of subtle difficulties like not having proper identification to cash cheques, travelling 6 hours by bus to get to a location that is only 2 hours away by car, not being able to take out loans for school or home or even having proper credit. If that does not qualify as creation of a separate class of people, I don’t know what does.

It seems like both Democratic candidates for President are pro-immigration and pro-DREAM, or they know their voter base and are courting the Latino voters. Either way, it looks good for DREAMers but we cannot rest on these hopes. For the DREAM Act to come up for debate in 2009 and win, the Democrats need to pick up more seats in the Senate or CHANGE the minds of the anti-DREAMers. We also need to have organization support and do massive campaigning to make our voices head. MAYBE we need to make additional concessions and have tougher requirements. Having a Pro-DREAM declaring President does not make the task at hand any easier.

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