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Cory Booker Defends Sanctuary Cities Despite Horrific 2007 Slayings in Newark

The execution-style killing of three college students may have been preventable, but Booker supported Newark’s sanctuary city status.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) appeared on CNN’s Outfront on Thursday to discuss President Trump’s recent action regarding sanctuary cities. Booker told CNN’s Erin Burnett that when he was mayor of Newark, NJ, “if we had any violent felon arrested for some action of violence, we would hold and detain that person.”

“I don’t think there’s a mayor in America who wouldn’t want to get violent people off of their streets,” Booker went on to tell Burnett. “What often happens is you get somebody who’s detained for a minor, nonviolent issue and then you’re asked to do what’s called a voluntary detention of somebody just because their name matches in an immigration database.”

But this broad, generalized view of sanctuary cities overlooks a very real case from Booker’s past involving an illegal immigrant from Peru, Jose Lachira Carranza, who was accused of violent and reprehensible acts.

Carranza was arrested once in 2006 on aggravated assault charges and twice that same year for allegations he raped a child in his care. In 2007, while Booker was mayor of Newark, he was out on bail when he took part in the execution-style killing of three college students. Carranza also sexually assaulted a fourth victim, who survived the attacks.

Newark authorities had not notified immigration officials that Carranza was in the country illegally following his arrests because of the cities sanctuary city status.

“My Police Department does not play an I.N.S. function,” Booker told The New York Times in 2007. “We are not to be running around doing interrogations about whether someone is documented or not.”

Carranza could have been detained by federal immigration authorities after he was arrested three times on criminal charges, which might have prevented the brutal slaying of three college students. But Booker’s support of Newark’s status as a sanctuary city may have limited the ability of the city’s police from notifying federal authorities.

Booker’s comments to Burnett are either an attempt to gloss over a specific case in which a “violent felon” was arrested on his watch and allowed to commit further horrific acts, or it’s his way of saying he does not consider the rape of a 5-year-old girl to be an “action of violence.”