The federal government this month issued four subpoenas to Denver city officials, seeking information on four men in custody who face deportation. Denver snubbed Immigration and Customs Enforcement, announcing it would refuse to honor the court orders.

The subpoenas mark the federal government’s first volley in a plan to crack down on determinations by “sanctuary cities” to obstruct federal efforts to enforce immigration laws.

Denver’s outrageous behavior probably might not end well for the residents.

Throughout this country’s history, cooperation among law enforcement agencies has maintained civility and peace. The FBI, Secret Service, Capitol Police, other federal agencies and state agencies have consistently aided local law enforcement. Local and state agencies have worked with federal agencies. Working together, they enforce the laws that make peace and prosperity possible.

When this cooperation breaks down, and local law enforcement impedes federal efforts to enforce the law, things go badly. We don’t hear much about it, because it fits none of the central narratives of the hyperpoliticized mainstream national press.

Example: As the media served up non-stop coverage of a repetitive, go-nowhere impeachment scandal, few Americans heard about Maria Fuertes.

She was walking near her home in New York on Jan. 6, minding her business. Police say Reeas Khan spotted Fuertes and attacked her. Authorities say he raped and murdered her by strangulation, leaving her dead in the street. Khan has confessed to the crime, saying he was acting out of anger toward his mother.

Fuertes was a 92-year-old law-abiding Latina immigrant and longtime New York resident from the Dominican Republic. She was adored by people in the neighborhood, who called her called her “Abuelita” — grandma in Spanish. She was known for taking in and caring for abandoned animals.

Khan is living in the country illegally, a criminal suspect immigrant who had been held in a New York jail before he was accused of killing Abuelita.

Police had charged him with a violent assault. If New York City officials had cooperated with ICE officers, he would not have been in the United States the night he killed a beloved member of the community.

“We wanted him three months ago before he did this,” said Customs Enforcement Director Matthew Albence. “If we had been able to cooperate with the NYPD, Maria Fuertes would be alive today.”

ICE officials had requested jail officials to hold Khan until they arrived, but the city chose instead to release the suspect without demanding bond.

We hear these stories too often. Local jailers snub federal authorities to carry out progressive policies of city politicians, releasing suspects who go on to commit murders, drunken driving homicides and other violent crimes.

Last year, ICE contacted New York City with 7,500 detainer requests. The sanctuary city complied with 10. Mayor Bill de Blasio’s sanctuary city policy allows jailers to cooperate with ICE only if a court has convicted an inmate of a violent felony.

As such, the city set free suspects they had arrested in connection with 200 murders, 500 robberies, 1,000 sexual offenses, 1,000 weapons offenses and 3,500 assaults.

The city’s soft-on-crime policies have crime soaring in New York.

The New York Times cited police data in late 2019 showing “86 shooting incidents in upper Manhattan for the year, an increase of 41% from 61 in the same period in 2018. Likewise, the number of murders has risen in upper Manhattan by 61% to 29 for the year, compared with 18 in the same period for 2018. Shootings and murders ticked up in northern Brooklyn as well, the data show. NYPD officials tallied 54 murders in the area from Jan. 1 through Sunday, an increase of 10% from the 49 in the same period in 2018.”

Denver’s per capital crime rate grew 9% between 2017 and 2018, the highest rate of increase of any large city in the country. Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and the City Council should consider Mayor de Blasio’s net favorability rating in New York of -25% before they continue down the road of obstructing efforts to deport criminals from Colorado. It’s a safe bet most people, of any and all political persuasions, don’t like crime.

This is a country of law-abiding immigrants who improve our country, such as Abuelita. The country’s success has long involved protecting and cherishing peace-loving people and rejecting those most likely to cause harm. That involves community law enforcement working with federal officials trying to enforce the law.

The Gazette Editorial Board


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