Hear Me Out

Sanctuary Policies Cause Outrage and Despair
By Joel E. Gordon

When did we begin to vilify the protectors while protecting the offenders of our peaceful order and way of life? Why are some politicians supporting those who commit crimes and buck societal norms over the safety and rights of law-abiding citizens who “play by the rules?”

The Christmas Holiday 2018 murder of lawful immigrant and on-duty Newman Police Corporal Ronil Singh, who was shot during a traffic stop by an illegal resident alien, was especially symbolic, striking especially hard as the Christmas picture of the officer, his wife, 5-month-old child and service dog, taken just five hours prior to the deputy’s senseless murder, made its viral rounds via the Internet.

The shooter, who entered the country illegally from Mexico and has been in this country for several years, was known to have gang ties and had two previous known DUI arrests. Singh had stopped him because he had reason to believe that the suspect was again driving under the influence when Singh was shot and killed.

Two days after the murder, subsequent to the arrest of the alleged perpetrator, during a heartfelt press conference with the understandably grief-stricken and sobbing officer’s brother seen and audibly heard in the background, Stanislaus County California Sheriff Adam Christianson Sheriff told the world what law enforcement officers already know.


“This is a criminal illegal alien with prior criminal activity that should have been reported to ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement),” the sheriff said. “We were prohibited, law enforcement was prohibited because of sanctuary laws and that led to the encounter with (Corporal) Singh.

“I’m suggesting that the outcome could have been different if law enforcement wasn’t restricted, prohibited or had their hands tied because of political interference.” “Why are we providing sanctuary for criminals, gang members?” the sheriff said. “It’s a conversation we need to have.”

Christianson singled out California Senate Bill 54, which was passed in 2017 and limits local law enforcement’s cooperation with federal immigration. Local authorities can only report people convicted of certain felonies to ICE.

Christianson reflected on Singh’s service and sacrifice. Singh immigrated legally to the United States from Fiji with the hope of becoming a police officer. He was exactly the kind of person the United States welcomes and encourages to become a citizen.

The concept of accused criminals receiving sanctuary from their accusers is not a new phenomenon:

• Places of worship have long been recognized as sacred places in which fugitives formerly were immune to arrest as recognized by English law from the fourth to the seventeenth century. While the practice of churches offering sanctuary is still observed in the modern era, it no longer has any legal effect and is respected solely for the sake of tradition.

• During my days as a police officer in West Baltimore, as early as 1981, I was restricted from entering the methadone clinic in my primary area of responsibility for the purpose of capturing any fugitive due to sanctuary policy. Of course, whenever an unruly person or violent incident occurred within the clinic, you can guess who was called to solve their problem.

• Other sanctuary policies to facilitate needle giveaways and other publicly supported programs further handcuff the very people sworn to enforce our laws without fear or favor.

Adding further insult, elected representatives have increasingly failed to support law enforcement efforts. Oakland, California, Mayor Libby Schaaf -- who once warned Northern California residents about an impending ICE raid -- said she has “no regrets” for her actions.

“I have no regrets, none. The more time goes by, the more certain I feel that I did the right thing in standing up for our community and pointing out our values are not aligned with our laws.”

Who could doubt the sheriff’s candid, sincere and truthful analysis of sanctuary policy implemented by politicians with a hug-a-thug mentality? We must stand firm in keeping the peace and insisting on enforcing the laws in keeping with our oaths of office.

When officers are reduced to being handcuffed in providing safety and improving the quality of life to those in the communities that they serve, despair results for both the officers and their communities.

There are laws on the books that make harboring a fugitive a crime on federal, state and local levels. It’s past time to hold those in the political realm accountable both civilly and criminally for their tyrannical actions in protecting those who are disruptive to our way of life and in violation of our laws. Until there are adequate consequences to these unwise and unlawful actions, these disastrous situations will not go away. We as a society must insist on the most appropriate proactive responses available. The safety and quality of life of all of us are dependent upon it.

Joel E. Gordon is a former Field Training Officer with the Baltimore City Police Department and is a past Chief of Police for the city of Kingwood, West Virginia. He has also served as vice-chair of a regional narcotics task force. An award winning journalist, he is author of the book Still Seeking Justice: One Officer’s Story and founded the Facebook group Police Authors Seeking Justice. Look him up at stillseekingjustice.com