Gallegly: Where's the Outcry Over the 21,000 Other Early Releases?
Congressman Elton Gallegly (R-CA24) today said Paris Hilton's premature release from jail is not the anomaly it is made out to be. Even if she had not been ordered back to jail today, after just three days in jail Hilton actually would have served more time in Los Angeles County jail than thousands who have committed far more egregious crimes.
"Paris Hilton should serve her entire sentence, as should anyone who flouts our laws. She repeatedly violated her probation and was given a lenient 23 days after originally being sentenced to 46. If she wants to avoid jail in the future, she should grow up and become a responsible citizenafter paying her debt to society," Gallegly said.
"But Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo is being disingenuous to complain that Sheriff Lee Baca has broken the law by releasing Hilton without bringing the matter back before a judge. Baca releases more than 21,000 people every year without serving their sentencesthousands of whom are booked and released the same dayand Delgadillo hasn't complained about any of them. Hilton wasn't getting preferential treatment; this is status quo in Los Angeles County, and Delgadillo knows it."
Rather than being released for having a rash, or losing their appetite, the others are let go because of jail overcrowding. And why are the jails overcrowded? Baca appeared before the House Judiciary Committee last August, where Gallegly is a senior member, and clearly stated the problem. Forty percent of Los Angeles County inmates, Baca testified, are illegal immigrants. Take away the illegal immigrant population and overcrowding ceases to be an issue.
When questioned by Gallegly, Baca also noted that among those released within days or hours of their booking are those convicted of drunken driving, spousal abuse and assault. Reportedly, 16 people have been murdered by convicts who were released without serving their time.
"If Delgadillo wants to be incensed about early releases, he should press his fellow Los Angeles elected officials to remove Los Angeles as a sanctuary city," Gallegly said. Los Angeles, with the city attorney in the lead, refuses to enforce immigration laws. Proponents say the reason for this is to foster greater cooperation between illegal immigrant communities and police. Those policies have directly resulted in the 40 percent illegal immigrant jail populationa far greater percentage than the illegal immigrant representation in the general populationand the county's early release program. Los Angeles' policy gives sanctuary to the more than 630,000 illegal immigrants who have been ordered deported but are in hidingsecure in knowing if police stop them they won't ask them about their status.
Deputy David March was murdered by a twice-deported illegal immigrant who found safe haven in Los Angeles, Gallegly noted.
Los Angeles' gang problemgreatly comprised of and controlled by illegal immigrantshas been allowed to fester to the point where Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has asked for federal help to stem the tide. But by advancing policies welcoming and protecting illegal immigrants, he, too, is a major part of the problem.
"The answer is simple," Gallegly said. "Screen every person arrested for their immigration status. The criminals illegally in the country must then be deported after their case has been adjudicated. No exceptions. Disband the sanctuary, which only reinforces the notion that it's OK to violate U.S. laws.
"Once we make it clear than illegal immigration is a crime we will vigorously prosecute, would-be illegal immigrants will find the United States is not worth risking their lives for and the jail population will recede.
"When that happens, letting the Paris Hiltons of the world out of jail early will be an anomaly. Sadly, today, it is not."