What in the Haight-Ashbury Is Going on in San Francisco?

For the last few decades, a cabal of far-left groups have been on a mission to normalize a witch’s brew of radical public policy ideas and get a majority of Americans to accept them. This effort has been far more successful than even its advocates could have imagined, and the results can be seen throughout society, to the country’s detriment.

The problem with this mission is that reality inevitably crashes the party. Once they are implemented, such ideas are not sustainable by the laws of economics and human nature. Such is the case with sanctuary laws, which may have been popular theories when they were conceived in faculty lounges and think tanks, but only yield crime and chaos in practice. 

How bad are these laws that serve to harbor illegal aliens, many of whom have prior convictions or pending charges for violent crimes? Bad enough that America’s mother ship of radical leftist policies, San Francisco, is reconsidering its blanket protection of those who break our immigration laws, commit crimes, and then seek refuge from deportation. 

San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins is asking the city government to make an exception to its sanctuary laws so she can prosecute two Mexican nationals who allegedly fled the country to avoid facing criminal charges. Jenkins said that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) informed her that it has found the two fugitives in Mexico, but the department will return the men to San Francisco only if her office and the local sheriff agree to notify DHS should the suspects be released from custody. Such a move would violate the city’s sanctuary policies. 

Jenkins became San Francisco’s district attorney after voters recalled Chesa Boudin, whose fringe leftist policies encouraged crime in the City by the Bay to skyrocket. During his campaign, Boudin vowed to create a unit to help criminal illegal aliens avoid deportation, and called for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents who enforce federal immigration law to be prosecuted. While claiming to be a progressive, Jenkins has sought to restore some element of law and order to a city that sorely needs it.   

Because it is San Francisco, however, Jenkins’ request was met with predictable outrage from city leaders. 

“What the mayor and D.A. are doing is weak,” Supervisor Hillary Ronen told the San Francisco Standard. “They are not standing up for our sanctuary ordinance and are being almost extorted by the federal government.”

Who are these recipients of Ronen’s vociferous defense? One of the defendants allegedly killed his ex-wife in 2009 and left “their children behind without a mom,” according to Jenkins. The other defendant is accused of sexually abusing two young girls under the age of 10.

That the idea of prosecuting and deporting such people is even controversial shows just how radical San Francisco has become. The city has a well-earned, prominent place in the Immigration Reform Law Institute’s lists of America’s most dangerous sanctuary communities. 

The city’s sanctuary policies gained national attention in 2015 when Kate Steinle was struck by a bullet and killed while walking with her father along the city’s Pier 14. The man who fired the weapon was a five-time deportee from Mexico, with seven prior felony convictions, who even then managed to be acquitted of Steinle’s murder.

That, in addition to a number of similar incidents in the city, apparently has altered the political landscape when it comes to sanctuary policy. Mayor London Breed, who appointed Jenkins and still claims to support the city’s sanctuary’s status, sides with Jenkins in her exemption request. 

A spokesman for Breed said the ordinance “was not put in place to shield people who commit heinous crimes from being prosecuted here.” 

What in the Haight-Ashbury is going on in San Francisco? It’s a classic case of radical anti-borders policies pushed to such an extreme that they become unacceptable even for those who support the policies in theory. 

The recall of Boudin was the first hint that change is afoot. The political reaction to the DHS request is another. The average resident of San Francisco is likely sympathetic to the narrative—put forth by activists in the most complimentary light—of nonviolent immigration violators drawn to a sanctuary city for fear of deportation. That narrative has been pushed to an extreme where elected officials in the city are now fighting for accused murderers and child rapists to remain in their community, a position many residents are apparently no longer willing to support.

Does this mean deep-blue Northern California is about to undergo a political transformation to Florida red? Not likely in the lifetime of anyone walking the Earth today. It does show, however, that extremism in pursuit of illogical sanctuary policies has its limits, even among its supporters. The people of San Francisco have had enough, and at least some of the politicians there have received the message. Leaders of other sanctuary communities should pay heed. 



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About Brian Lonergan

Brian Lonergan is an adjunct fellow of the Center for American Greatness and director of communications at the Immigration Reform Law Institute, and co-host of IRLI’s “No Border, No Country” podcast.

Photo: Nextrecord Archives / Getty Images

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