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New TV ads slamming sanctuary cities evoke California deaths blamed on immigrants in U.S. illegally

An television advertising campaign denouncing California's so-called sanctuary cities launched this week in the San Diego area.

The campaign, created by the group Californians for Population Stabilization, or CAPS, opposes local and state government policies that preclude full cooperation by law enforcement officers with federal immigration authorities. It features Don Rosenberg, whose son Drew was killed in a collision with an immigrant driver.

In one version of the ad, Rosenberg asks President Trump to withhold federal funding from sanctuary cities. In a second version, he calls on California to move away from sanctuary policies.

"California should be a sanctuary for Californians,” Rosenberg says as a picture of Gov. Jerry Brown appears. “Imagine if Drew had been his son.”

Drew Rosenberg was killed in November 2010 in San Francisco in an accident involving Roberto Galo, who was driving without a license. Rosenberg was on a motorcycle, and Galo turned left into Rosenberg’s path at an intersection. Rosenberg's helmet came off and Galo drove over his Rosenberg's body several times, before stopping witnesses said.

Galo, originally from Honduras, had entered the U.S. without permission and later received temporary protected status, which grants limited permission for people to stay in the U.S. due to conflict or disaster at home.

Galo was charged with vehicular manslaughter and later deported in 2013.

Don Rosenberg, who lives in the Los Angeles area and said he considers himself a liberal, blames San Francisco's sanctuary mentality for Galo having been on the road in the first place.

“Sanctuary cities are more than not turning people over to [Immigration and Customs Enforcement]. They’re ignoring laws,” Rosenberg said by telephone. “My issue is not one of, ‘Yeah, you should’ve called ICE.’ My issue is you don’t enforce the law against these people, even when they break laws — not immigration law, just any law.”

In the ads, Rosenberg also refers to the deaths of Kate Steinle and Jamiel Shaw II, who were both shot to death, allegedly by immigrants in the country illegally. Shaw’s killer was convicted of murder in 2012.

Pedro Rios, director for the U.S.-Mexico Border Program with the American Friends Service Committee, criticized the ad campaign.

“This is CAPS’ latest shameful attempt to exploit the emotions of people who have lost loved ones in unfortunate incidents, to advance an anti-immigrant agenda that fuels hate, intolerance, and misunderstanding,” Rios said by email. “The Southern Poverty Law Center labeled CAPS as a hate group because of its associations with white supremacist groups, so its message originates from that vantage point, and therefore cannot be trusted.”

Morrissey writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune.

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