To the editor: Your article is quite good and raises the question of why any city, county or state would have a policy that thwarted deportation of individuals in the U.S. illegally who have committed serious crimes. ( "At odds on immigrants," July 7, and "Deportation common sense," Editorial, July 8) That aside, I was taken aback at the statement from Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood that the "real problem … is that [Juan Francisco Lopez-]Sanchez has been able to repeatedly reenter the country illegally."
As your story indicates, this is not the case. Starting in 1998, every time Sanchez attempted to enter the U.S., he was caught by the Border Patrol. After the second time he attempted to illegally enter in 1998, he was prosecuted and convicted of illegal reentry (a felony under U.S. law) and served nearly five years in federal prison. After he was again deported to Mexico, he attempted reentry in 2003, and he was again caught near the border in Texas and prosecuted.
After being released and deported in 2009, he was again caught near the border and convicted of illegal reentry. After serving that sentence, he was released by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons to the County of San Francisco, which has an outstanding bench warrant over felony sales of drugs.
The sheriff's statement is plain wrong, and our border is far more secure. There is every reason to believe that had San Francisco turned Sanchez over to ICE, he would have been deported and Kathryn Steinle would be alive today.
Robert C. Bonner, Pasadena
The writer is the former commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
To the editor: Sanctuary, a place of refuge, a place where someone can feel safe. San Francisco has been a "sanctuary city" for years.My question is: Sanctuary for whom? For a young woman out for a stroll with her father on a summer evening or sanctuary for an illegal immigrant with a criminal record who had been previously deported multiple times?
It is time for sanctuary cities to be held accountable.
Alba Farfaglia, San Clemente
To the editor: As a taxpaying U.S. citizen, I am a bit confused. Let's see if I've got this straight: a foreign-national criminal has been deported multiple times, returns to beautiful San Francisco where my son lives, gets a gun owned by a federal agent, shoots and kills a beautiful young woman for no reason, gets a great shave and haircut, clean uniform, public defender, room and board and appears smiling in The Times' photo?
OK, I think I got it now.
Michael L. Friedman, Torrance
To the editor: The Times emphasizes in its editorial that it's in the interests of all residents (legal and illegal) that "serious" criminals in the U.S. illegally get deported. Shouldn't the word "criminal" alone be enough to deport someone here illegally — without having to add "serious"?