At a White House meeting this afternoon, President Trump reportedly decided that the leniency-for-criminals legislation Jared Kushner, Sen. Chuck Grassley, and a host of liberal Democrats have been pushing is too politically difficult to endorse before the elections. Let’s hope he understands that the legislation is politically fraught after the elections, as well.
The legislation is also terrible policy. This point is forcefully made in the following letter, hand-delivered to White House today, from heads of leading organizations representing law enforcement officers:
Dear President Trump:
We write to express our strong concern and opposition to the First Step Act and sentencing-related proposals that will endanger our communities and put the lives of law enforcement officers at risk. These proposals, regardless of their stated aims, will trigger the premature release of thousands of dangerous criminals from federal prison, including gang members, firearms traffickers, and high level drug traffickers of deadly fentanyl, methamphetamine and other poisons.
We are in the midst of a fentanyl and heroin crisis. Last year alone, 72,000 Americans were poisoned by these drugs — more deaths than the entire Vietnam war. Most of this fentanyl and heroin is coming from Mexico and China. This is no time to relent and give back the gains we have made since the early 1990’s when our current sentencing regime was established.
The claims of proponents that their proposals are targeted to low-level offenders who pose no danger to our country is patently false. Releasing tens of thousands of federal offenders from prison with placement into “community supervision” will result in higher rates of homicides, robberies, rapes, and drug overdose deaths.
Mr. President, you campaigned on a platform of law and order that included removing illegal alien gang members from this country. The First Step Act, the bill you are being asked to support, does quite the opposite.
For example, under the House passed bill, illegal alien gang members will become eligible for early release to “home confinement” instead of being turned over to ICE. We have not seen bill text from Senator Grassley or others that removes this provision, which otherwise represents a clear and present and danger to our communities.
As your strong allies in the preservation of law and order, we ask you not to support any legislation that reduces mandatory minimum penalties, including those for fentanyl and heroin trafficking, or that prematurely releases dangerous criminals back into our communities.
Arkansas Prosecuting Attorneys Association
John A. Costanzo
Association of Federal Narcotics Agents
FBI Agents Associations
Nathan R. Catura
Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association
Lawrence J. Leiser
National Association of Assistant United States Attorneys
William J. Johnson
National Association of Police Organizations, Inc.
National Narcotics Officers’ Associations’ Coalition
Jonathan F. Thompson
Executive Director and CEO
National Sheriffs’ Association
There are many local sheriffs, police, and prosecutors who strongly oppose the jailbreak legislation being peddled by Team Leniency. It’s my understanding that President Trump will be hearing from them soon.