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de Blasio’s Sanctuary Policies Killed Maria Fuentes

Updated: Feb 25

By Brian Lonergan


Ever since Donald Trump’s shocking upset victory in the 2016 election, much has been written about the longstanding and ever-widening chasm between America’s ruling class elites and its citizens. Nowhere is this divide more evident than on the issue of sanctuary immigration policies. Many politicians love them, even when they result in assault and murder against innocent people.


Besides rabid anti-borders activists, only detached, card-carrying members of the political establishment could possibly support such a policy. Cooperating with federal immigration authorities to deport criminal aliens before they commit more violence in our towns should not be a liberal or conservative issue. It is a common sense, keep-your-community-safe issue.


When sanctuary policies produce inevitable tragedies, these same “leaders” spout the requisite boilerplate condolences to the victim’s families. In the same breath, they shamelessly double-down on sanctuary policies, under the guise that they make the community “safer” and more “welcoming.” The public is no longer buying it, and the resentment is growing.


A most vulgar example of this recently happened in New York City, which currently holds the ignominious position of number two in the ranking of America’s Worst Sanctuary Communities. Reeaz Khan, 21, was arrested in Queens and charged with the brutal sexual assault and murder of Maria Fuentes, 92, a beloved member of her community and an immigrant from the Dominican Republic.


Khan arrived in New York from his native Guyana on a B-2 tourist visa but overstayed for three years, making him an illegal alien. He was arrested in New York last November for assaulting his father as well as criminal possession of a weapon. When Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents filed a request to detain Khan so they could take him into their custody for possible deportation, the New York Police Department (NYPD) followed the city’s sanctuary policy and denied the request. Khan was instead released into the general public, where he remained until his arrest for murder.


Reaction was swift and unsparing. The NYPD’s Sergeants Benevolent Association unloaded on Mayor Bill de Blasio, a passionate advocate for sanctuary policies.


“At what point do YOU take responsibility for a 92 year-old woman raped and murdered,” the association posted on Twitter. “If you complied with ICE detainers she would still be alive. You try to deflect the issue by turning it into exploitation, the FACT is her death is on YOU.”


Acting ICE Director Matthew Albence also reprimanded de Blasio, saying, “Make no mistake, it is this city’s sanctuary policies that are the sole reason that this criminal was allowed to roam the streets freely and end an innocent woman’s life.”


Rather than hang his head in shame and reverse this disastrous policy, de Blasio instead attacked ICE, stating, “The morally bankrupt organization that tears families apart and puts innocent children in cages has ZERO right to tell us how to keep our city safe.”


That statement, in addition to being shockingly offensive to many and denying any personal responsibility, is factually wrong. ICE has nothing to do with the operation of detention facilities for illegal aliens at the border. It primarily focuses on deporting criminal aliens like Khan before they can commit more crimes like sexual assault and murder.


Besides deflection, de Blasio’s stated position is that only after illegal aliens have been convicted of committing a “heinous” crimes should they be jailed and possibly deported. He also said the city has a list of 170 crimes that would trigger deportation. Apparently assault and criminal possession of a weapon don’t rise to his city’s standard.


Translated from politician-speak into layman’s terms, an innocent victim has to die a violent death before New York City will support the deportation of an illegal alien with a prior criminal record of violent behavior. Why is that a better option than complying with federal law and preventing a murder? The residents of New York deserve an answer.


Sadly, Maria Fuentes is not the first person to lose her life because of sanctuary policies, and certainly will not be the last. Politicians like de Blasio hope you will quickly forget her name, just as other victims like Kate Steinle, Drew Rosenberg, Mollie Tibbetts, and too many others were briefly mourned and then put down the media and political establishment’s memory hole.


Sanctuary policies kill. How many more must meet the same fate as Maria Fuentes before we refuse to accept this madness?


Brian Lonergan is director of communications at the Immigration Reform Law Institute, a public interest law firm working to defend the rights and interests of the American people from the negative effects of illegal migration.


Also published at: Brian Lonergan, de Blasio’s Sanctuary Policies Killed Maria Fuentes, Breitbart, January 28, 2020.

IRLI is a supporting organization of the Federation for American Immigration Reform.

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