As families learn to live without loved ones lost at the hands of illegal alien felons, their pain is compounded by the sense of betrayal they feel as the justice system rushes to provide the perpetrator with protection.

It isn’t that there aren’t federal laws requiring illegal aliens convicted of committing felonies to be deported – there are.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is charged with enforcing these laws, but cities and states are standing in the way.

ICE Director Sarah Saldana told a Congressional Committee, “a significant factor affecting efforts to deport undocumented immigrants has been the increase in state and local jurisdictions that are limiting their partnership, or wholly refusing to cooperate, with ICE immigration enforcement efforts.”

They are called “sanctuary cities” – places with resolutions, local ordinances, state statutes and executive orders authorizing their violation of the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act.

And there are more than 340 of them nationwide.

According to ICE estimates, there are more than 1.2 million criminal aliens at large in the U.S. and if ICE requests notification when one is arrested or released from custody, rules established by the sanctuaries make it impossible.

The rules are written to protect the guilty.

In Philadelphia, which even Obama’s Secretary of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson, calls “one of the worst,” ICE will not be notified unless the suspect has a conviction of a first- or second-degree felony that involves violence.

Why would cities prohibit their cops from cooperating with federal immigration officials to make their communities safer?

Officials say it boils down to politics.

The simple truth is that the immigrant population is now so large that politicians cannot risk offending them – even when it means exposing the public to increased danger.

It was this kind of thinking that created a tragedy when San Francisco refused a detention request from ICE, releasing a five-time deportee with seven felony convictions.

Not surprisingly, less than 90-days later Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez was charged with the murder of Kate Steinle, a 32-year-old woman who was walking on Pier 14 with her father.

Advocates say an “undocumented person” like Lopez-Sanchez deserves the presumption of innocence provided by sanctuary cities.

Others, including her parents who recently filed a wrongful death action against San Francisco, believe that Kate Steinle deserved that presumption, too.

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