The police chief in Salt Lake City has made it perfectly clear that he wants people who break the law and cross into America illegally to be protected… not kicked out.

He’s the latest “leader” to draw the line.  He’s added his name to a letter saying that local police want to protect, not deport, those not here legally.

The letter comes from the “Law Enforcement Immigration Task Force”.

It’s written to assure those who broke the law that “immigration enforcement is, first and foremost, a federal responsibility” and that local officers will “cooperate with federal law enforcement” only when there are “threats in our communities” and “our safety is at stake.”

It’s signed by 56 law-enforcement officials, including current and former police chiefs and sheriffs, from 23 states who seem focused on putting their political future ahead of enforcing our nation’s laws.

Retired Salt Lake Police Chief Chris Burbank, Salt Lake Police Chief Mike Brown’s predecessor, also signed the letter.

“Following the tragic Aug. 3 shooting in El Paso, Texas, and raids the following week in Mississippi, we know that many immigrants in our communities are afraid,” it says. “We are here to serve all communities.”

The letter adds a plea to those who snuck into the country. 

It says local police “need your trust” and “want you to feel safe … and comfortable calling law enforcement to report crimes, serving as witnesses, and asking for help in emergencies.”

Politically driven LEOs in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin have signed it.

Brown added his signature in August to a letter from the Law Enforcement Immigration Task Force written to President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.

The purpose of that letter was to express “concern about the reports of possible unacceptable conditions for children in the custody of the federal government.”

The political move was on that urged the Trump administration to “minimize the detention of children” and to release “thoroughly vetted minors” to “sponsoring relatives and friends throughout the U.S., or properly vetted local churches and non-profit organizations”.

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Let’s not forget about what’s happening in America.

In August, a California state appeals court overturned the only conviction against an undocumented immigrant who shot and killed Kate Steinle on the San Francisco waterfront in 2015.

That case drew national attention, reigniting the debate over illegal immigration.

Jose Inez Garcia-Zarate was in the U.S. illegally.  He had been deported to his native Mexico five times.

He was acquitted in November 2017 of first and second-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter, and assault with a semi-automatic weapon.

The only thing the criminal was convicted of was one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

The 1st District Court of Appeal in San Francisco overturned that conviction. They did it because the judge failed to give the jury the option of acquitting Garcia-Zarate.  That was done on the theory he only possessed the weapon for a moment.

Garcia-Zarate is still in custody, facing federal charges of gun possession and being in the country illegally.

According to his attorney, Tony Serra, that trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 13.  He said the appeals court reversal will give state prosecutors the option to re-try Garcia-Zarate.

“That kind of error causes reversals all the time. Then the prosecution has the prerogative of going again,” Serra said. “The state case is a heavier case because it’s a homicide and a gun. … It’s going to be a big potential decision on what they’re going to do.”

Steinle was only 32 when she died on July 1, 2015.  She was killed after being struck by a bullet while walking with her father and a family friend.

Garcia-Zarate claimed he picked up the gun, which was wrapped in a T-shirt, not knowing what it was  and it fired accidentally.

But here’s the thing – that gun belonged to a federal Bureau of Land Management ranger and was stolen from his parked car a week earlier.

It adds insult to injury for the parents.  That’s because the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court decision earlier this year to dismiss a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Steinle’s parents against San Francisco.

According to the lawsuit, the city’s so-called sanctuary policy and San Francisco County Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi bore responsibility for Steinle’s death.

Here’s that back story – just three months before Steinle’s death, Garcia-Zarate was released from custody after a drug case against him was dropped.

And in a political move, the sheriff’s office, which had ended contact between jail employees and immigration officials, turned a blind eye. 

They ignored a request by federal authorities to hold Garcia-Zarate until they could assume custody and did not inform them that he was being released.

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