The mayor and the police chief of San Jose are calling for changes to Santa Clara County’s sanctuary city policy — that protects low-priority undocumented immigrants from deportation — after a suspect, who’s also a repeat felon, carried out a stabbing attack at Grace Baptist Church that left two killed and three seriously injured.
“Currently, the Santa Clara County policy prohibits responding to immigration detainers, which allowed the suspect to be released,” Police Chief Eddie Garcia said at a news conference days after the Nov. 22 stabbing incident, according to The Epoch Times.
The police chief said there was a need for a more balanced approach to the criminal justice system and to notify the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement when a violent undocumented immigrant is released into the community.
The accused, 32-year-old Fernando De Jesus Lopez-Garcia, who had been arrested twice last year and released on unknown dates without any notification being sent to ICE, was charged with two murder counts, three counts of attempted murder, battery on a spouse or cohabitant and violating a protective order.
The “sanctuary” movement started in the 1980s when some churches gave refuge to Central American migrants who feared deportation after fleeing civil unrest in their region. Since then, the states, cities or counties that made laws or policies with varying levels of protection to prevent ICE from arresting immigrants at risk of deportation began to be loosely termed as sanctuary states, cities or counties.