The State of Maryland never fails to disappoint. After the state legislature failed to pass legislation declaring the entire state a sanctuary for illegal immigrants, one of the counties decided to see how far they could take the idea.
Last week, the nation learned of actions taken by Montgomery County officials that made critics collectively scream “What?”. On May 3, Mario Granados-Alvarado was released from Montgomery County jail after posting $2,000 bond. This doesn’t seem like much, but when you get a look at the alleged crimes, it’s amazing how such a low bond was given.
Granados-Alvarado was arrested on May 1, and charged with possession of a stolen vehicle, possession of a deadly weapon on school property, possession of a stolen firearm, and six other criminal charges, bringing the grand total to nine. Despite the litany of charges, and the clear and present danger, Granados-Alvarado posed, he was released on only a $2,000 bond. To make matters worse, the firearm was stolen from a Rockville City police cruiser on April 29.
The bond was issued despite Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) having a detainer order for Granados-Alvarado. The defendant was issued a notice to appear in immigration court after being detained in southwest Texas. Granados-Alvarado failed to show up for that court hearing. What made local officials think the man with a stolen rifle on a school campus, would show back up to court, if he didn’t show the first time?
But wait, it gets better. A quick search of court records indicates Granados-Alvarado had a previous altercation with Maryland law enforcement. The altercation happened less than two weeks before the assault weapon was stolen from the police cruiser. He was pulled over by police for traffic violations, fled from the police on foot, and was found to have no driver’s license. Why didn’t Maryland law enforcement do their job the first time?
Local law enforcement may not be enforcing the law equally. A memo from the Baltimore State Attorney’s Office, instructed prosecutors to think twice before charging illegal immigrants with certain crimes to avoid alerting the Trump administration of their legal status. Does this mean crimes are being committed, but not charged because of politics?
By refusing to honor the detainer either time, the officials of Maryland put the citizens they swore to protect at risk to defend the sanctuary policy. Clearly, municipalities like this only respect the laws they like. If a baker were to refuse to bake a cake, you can bet the officials would be beating down the door of the bakery and calling in the feds for help.
The Trump administration said he would crack down on sanctuary cities by defunding them. The President made the issue a cornerstone of his campaign. Trump believed in the idea so much, he made it one of the first executive orders he signed. On January 25, the President signed the Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States executive order. The order is currently being challenged in federal court.
Trump had another chance to defund sanctuary cities in the most recent budget, but the party that wrote the bill, the Democrats, would not allow those provisions into it and Republicans were unwilling to fight for it. Another chance will come in September when the next continuing resolution comes up.
Unfortunately, not much has been done about the matter in Congress on its own. Several members have introduced legislation opposing sanctuary municipalities, but none have yet to get any traction. The best of the bunch is H.R. 400, Stop Dangerous Sanctuary Cities Act, by U.S. Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.). The bill prohibits a sanctuary jurisdiction from receiving grants under certain Economic Development Assistance Programs and the Community Development Block Grant Program. The bill has 90 cosponsors, but is still in committee, with no votes scheduled. This is a good start, but does not go far enough. All Department of Justice programs must also be cancelled for sanctuary cities. Why give law enforcement grants to cities that are not going to enforce law?
Because of the pending legal action against the executive order, it is up to Congress to take action. The American people cannot wait months or possibly years for the legal process to reach the Supreme Court that may not prevail. Congress has the power of the purse, and so it must move to defund sanctuary cities through stand-alone legislation or through a defunding mechanism, such as the approaching Sept. 30 continuing resolution deadline.
Are your local law enforcement officials putting you and your family at risk for political reasons?