During a week in which the media were obsessed with reporting on a handful of personnel changes among the White House staff, the Trump administration moved forward on several fronts to implement policies the president campaigned on. Here are some welcome actions that you may have missed.
Fulfilling Trump’s promise to crack down on sanctuary cities, last Tuesday Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced exactly how that will be done. The Justice Department awards $380 million annually in grants to local police departments, and at least 10 percent of that money has been going to agencies with sanctuary policies.
That same evening, the president went to Youngstown, Ohio, one of the areas where Trump attracted the support of thousands of people who had previously voted for Obama. Some 15,000 supporters crammed into an auditorium that was designed for 6,000.
“American cities should be sanctuaries for law-abiding Americans,” Trump said to the cheering crowd. “The predators and criminal aliens who poison our communities with drugs and prey on innocent young people will find no safe haven anywhere in our country.”
The next day, Trump’s policy was reinforced by Thomas Homan, acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Homan is now the nation’s top immigration enforcement officer, after working his way up through the ranks of the Border Patrol.
Homan is the point man to enforce the deportation policies previously issued by the outgoing secretary of homeland security, General John F. Kelly, who is now the White House chief of staff. We say “point man” advisedly because arresting criminal aliens is a man’s job, and the burly Tom Homan is clearly fit for the task.
Homan created a stir back in June when he told a House appropriations subcommittee that “If you’re in this country illegally, you need to be worried. No population is off the table.” The next day he said he had “no regrets” for that statement, based on the experience of finding the bodies of 19 illegal immigrants, including a 5-year-old boy, who suffocated inside a locked tractor trailer in Victoria, Texas in 2003.
“Sanctuary cities are a criminal’s biggest friend,” Homan declared, hinting that local officials risk being prosecuted for violating the federal law that punishes anyone who tries to “conceal, harbor or shield” someone who is in this country illegally.
On Friday, President Trump went to a section of Long Island, NY, where the Salvadoran youth gang called MS-13 has been running wild. “Since January 2016,” Trump said to a crowd of 500 uniformed local police officers, “MS-13 gang members have brutally murdered 17 beautiful young lives in this area on Long Island alone.”
Murder is normally a local issue, but not in this case. MS-13, or Mara Salvatrucha, is a transnational organization almost entirely composed of young citizens of other countries, primarily El Salvador.
MS-13 had been a declining problem until the summer of 2014 when 150,000 unaccompanied alien minors from Central America illegally crossed our southern border. Instead of turning them back to their own countries, Barack Obama treated them as refugees and released them into unsuspecting communities all over the country, including 4,000 to that area of Long Island.
No good deed goes unpunished, and Trump’s speech was predictably protested by groups that advocate amnesty for illegal immigration. “We are outraged to see President Trump use local tragedies to fuel his hateful agenda,” said community agitators who claimed that “what’s really causing this” is “the severe underfunding of our public schools and the lack of access to programs.”
As if on cue, the enforcement agenda of Donald Trump and Tom Homan was justified by the news that a criminal illegal alien named Sergio Jose Martinez broke into a 65-year-old woman’s home in Portland, Oregon, tied her up and sexually assaulted her, and then stole her car, after local authorities refused to honor an ICE detainer. Next he allegedly assaulted a second woman at knifepoint that same day.
Martinez was known as a meth-using street person with a long record of arrests, and had previously been deported at least 20 times, yet he was released by the local sheriff in defiance of ICE’s request. Earlier this year the Multnomah County Sheriff sent a letter to reassure illegal immigrants that “The sheriff’s office does not hold people in county jails on ICE detainers or conduct any immigration enforcement actions.”
To round out the week of good news, on Sunday Chuck Todd of Meet the Press went to Kenosha, Wisconsin to sample the opinion of “everyday voters” on the question, “Has Donald Trump been a successful president?” One of Kenosha’s everyday voters, Rosemary Brunner, spoke for many when she replied: “I think with him, God has given this country a second chance to redeem itself.”
John and Andy Schlafly are sons of Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016) whose 27th book, The Conservative Case for Trump, was published posthumously on September 6.