San Francisco 'Sanctuary City' sheriff crushed in re-election bid
The California county sheriff who released an illegal alien from jail who subsequently murdered a San Francisco woman lost his re-election bid in a landslide.
Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi was a big booster of sanctuary cities, but it was other scandals – both personal and professional – that ultimately brought him down.
Mirkarimi was the subject of national criticism after Mexican illegal immigrant Francisco Sanchez allegedly shot and killed 32-year-old Kate Steinle on San Francisco's waterfront July 1. Sanchez had been released from Mirkarimi's jail in March even though federal immigration officials had requested he be detained for possible deportation.
But since then, the sheriff's oversight of the department has been plagued by other high-profile mishaps and controversies seen as contributing to his defeat. He had his driver's license briefly suspended for failing to properly report a minor accident while driving a department-issued car, and he also flunked a marksmanship test.
Before those two incidents, a drug gang leader escaped from jail, and guards were accused of staging and gambling on inmate fights.
In November 2014, Mirkarimi also was forced to apologize for the bungled search for a San Francisco General Hospital patient whose body was found in a stairwell weeks after she wandered from her room. The sheriff is in charge of the hospital's security, but deputies didn't search the building until nine days after her disappearance. The city paid the patient's family $3 million to settle a lawsuit.
But Mirkarimi is now known nationally for his strident defense of sanctuary city policies, taking the practice to a new level under his leadership.
Mirkarimi's refusal to cooperate with federal immigration officials in holding Sanchez led directly to a woman's death. That alone should have been the major cause in his election loss.
But this is San Francisco, whose mayor, city council, and all of law enforcement are basically on board with the notion of sanctuary cities. However, Mirkarimi's successor, Vicki Hennessy, a former sheriff's official, is looking to soften the strict "gag rule" imposed by the former sheriff:
Hennessy has previously said the sheriff's order barring the San Francisco jail from cooperating with immigration officials is misguided. There are cases, she said, when federal immigration officials should be notified that the jail is about to release an inmate who is in the country illegally.
A little common sense can go a long way in safeguarding the public.
But this doesn't mean much if the sheriff's department can pick and choose which criminal illegal aliens should be held and which should be let go. The bottom line: criminal illegals should be held until an immigration judge rules that they must be deported. Otherwise, it's open season on innocent people.