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Rantz: After illegal immigrant murders deputy, Dems push sanctuary state

A Kittitas County Sheriff’s Deputy was killed and a Kittitas police officer was injured during a shootout Tuesday, March 20, 2019. (KIRO 7)

Just one day after it was revealed that an illegal immigrant murdered a Kittitas County Sheriff’s Deputy, House Democrats in Olympia moved forward with a bill that will codify further protections in this sanctuary state.

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Last week, following a road rage incident, Deputy Ryan Thompson was shot and killed by Juan Manuel Flores Del Toro, a 29 year-old who overstayed his H-2A visa in 2014. Another officer, Kittitas Police Officer Benito Chavez, was shot in the leg but will thankfully recover.

Given the immigration status of the murderer, it’s hard not to view this in a political light. In 2017, Governor Jay Inslee issued an order making Washington a sanctuary state, asking agencies to avoid becoming a “willing participant in promoting or carrying out mean-spirited policies that break up families and compromise our national security and community safety.”

It turns out, Governor Inslee, a murder can break up a family, too.

The order was not enough. Mercer Island Democratic Sen. Lisa Wellman introduced legislation expanding protections for illegal immigrants. The Senate version already passed the chamber.

Under E2SSB 5497, illegal immigrants will be free from concern that certain agencies will inquire about their immigration status. In other words, it makes Washington even more welcoming to people like Del Toro.

The House held its first hearing on the bill just one day after we learned the identity of the murderer. It’s undoubtedly bad optics. But that’s not stopping some supporters from moving forward with the sanctuary state bill.

Unintended consequences

I do not think proponents of sanctuary states (or cities) mean to invite nefarious elements into our neighborhoods. But there is a simple reality: if we better enforced laws against immigrants who overstay their visas, and Del Toro was either deported or forced to re-apply, we would not have lost a deputy.

When you open your state — or city — to illegal immigrants, you are welcoming in an element that will feel safe until they interact with police. When they do, they may end up acting out like Del Toro did.

The rate of illegal immigrant murders is statistically insignificant; but their impact is certainly felt by the families they affect. Most illegal immigrants, obviously, are not murderers. But when they interact with police, they will, of course, be more on edge. They should. They are here illegally.

The problem is when you invite illegal immigrants into your community, you also end up creating an environment considerably more tense when they interact with law enforcement. If Inslee wasn’t so welcoming, it’s possible we wouldn’t be mourning the death of a deputy.

“…It’s just devastating when you see law enforcement lose their life like that and I just can’t express that enough, the sympathy with the family,” State Senator Reuven Carlyle (D-Seattle) told the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. “It’s not something that happens in a small town and it really is incredibly painful for that community and I’m very, very sympathetic to them.”

With that said, Carlyle will not use this incident to determine his support for what this bill may look like once the House is done with it. He rejects the notion that we should legislate by anecdotes. Though he feels the conversation about unintended consequences is worth having.

“I am deeply uncomfortable with governing by anecdote, and saying because one individual has a certain status … that is representative of whether or not there’s enough of an incentive or a disincentive for someone to be here who would commit a crime like that,” Carlyle said. “So we have to be measured and we have to be thoughtful about deconstructing the reality of how immigration relates to crime … but I do think there is a legitimate public conversation to have about how we as a state have our immigration policies, given where the federal government is today.”

I echo Carlyle’s concern that we should be measured, though I think codifying sanctuary protections will attract illegal immigrants the same way Seattle’s lax approach to homelessness attracts the homeless.

And while I don’t believe in mass deportation and support a DACA fix, I do think if you’re here illegally and commit a criminal act, you should face deportation in most circumstances. However, to counter this narrative, some activists claim illegal immigrants are less likely to commit criminal acts than American citizens. This is an ideological talking point.

The crime rates among illegal immigrants are incredibly difficult to honestly define. It’s certainly true that illegal immigrants do not commit a disproportionate number of murders. But when looking at lower-level crimes, given many jurisdictions do not ask or note immigration status of criminals — unless you live in Texas, where status is recorded — you cannot confidently make claims on criminality either way. In Seattle, for example, you’re not allowed to ask someone’s immigration status.

So, why this bill?

State Rep. Noel Frame (D-Seattle), like Carlyle, is a supporter of the principles of the bill.

For Frame, she believes it makes it more likely for an illegal immigrant to come forward when they want to, for example, report a crime and better participate in the criminal justice system.

“That’s the point of that bill…” Rep. Frame told the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. “Most immigrants that are here … we’ve got all the data in the world to tell us if (illegal immigrants) are strong contributors to the economy. They’re taxpayers. They are community-oriented people. I mean, they are wonderful contributors. There’s always an exception to the rule. So, no, I think that it’s the appropriate time to have a conversation about how do we support our communities being safe and feeling safe and feeling like they can come to their government and … interact with us on whatever it is that they’re addressing.”

There’s no doubt that illegal immigrants do pay taxes, including billions into social security, but not all taxes are paid, especially since too many unscrupulous characters pay slave wages to illegal immigrants, under the table, which isn’t reported to the IRS. And, per PolitiFact, a federal study showed illegal immigrants “pay less in taxes than what they receive through state and local public services.”

Beyond that, immigrants here legally and illegally end up paying remittances to family members in their home countries, with 40 percent going to Mexico alone. That number has hit record highs and represents less money spent in the U.S. economy and on sales taxes.

A lack of consistency

When it comes to curbing constitutional rights to bear arms, a common Progressive talking point is that we should do almost anything to protect an innocent life from gun violence. Indeed, as President Barack Obama tweeted, “If there’s even one thing we can do, if there’s just one life we can save—we’ve got an obligation to try.”

This is a bumper sticker talking point that is constitutionally abhorrent, but fine. Can we at least have consistency? If we can save just one life by enforcing immigration law — not even breaking it, as Progressives do on gun laws — don’t we have an obligation to try?

Inslee — and many Democrats — chide President Donald Trump for their perception that he violates the law with impunity. Indeed, Inslee has his ambulance chasers filing lawsuit after lawsuit against the president. Yet Inslee openly encourages illegal immigrants to violate federal law and, as a massive troll to the president, offers up our state as a safe haven.

How about some consistency?

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here.

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