Elizabeth Barcohana | Democrats’ Sanctuary for Pedophiles

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor

California became the first sanctuary state in the nation in 2017, which means our laws prevent local law enforcement from cooperating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to deport illegal immigrants. 

Even, apparently, the convicted pedophiles. 

Current law in California gives limited discretion of local authorities to cooperate with ICE for certain specified crimes, including child abuse, but they do not always do so. L.A. County District Attorney George Gascón, for example, employs a “blanket policy of non-cooperation” with ICE to “avoid additional impact” on defendants. Assemblyman Bill Essayli’s Assembly Bill 2641 would have overridden that discretion and made cooperation mandatory for convicted pedophiles, but Assembly Democrats killed it and now they are angry we are pointing that out. 

Assemblywoman Pilar Schiavo abstained from bringing AB 2641 to a vote, initially explaining that it violated procedural rules. When her constituents realized that made no sense, she came up with a new explanation on X (@Pilar4CA) that it was a phantom bill that she never voted on because the author pulled it. That is not what happened. There is no way to describe what happened other than all of the Democrats prioritized sanctuary protections of convicted pedophiles over the safety of their child victims.  

Republicans rightfully called Schiavo out for her abstention, which clearly struck a nerve. We now understand why: She publicly revealed in The Signal’s Democratic Voices column (June 25) that she was sexually abused as a child by her neighbor. No child should have to suffer in the way that she did. The day she had to testify against her abuser sounded sickening. I particularly empathize with how she felt when his prison sentence ended and she had to live in fear side by side with him until she left for college. What a true nightmare. 

Which is why it is especially egregious to me that she refused to vote to deport illegal immigrants (who are) convicted pedophiles because she knows that most convicted pedophiles serve short sentences in California, after which they often return to the community they victimized. The Daily Mail reported that thousands of pedophiles serve less than one-year sentences in California (one served two days), and the average sentence is only two years and 10 months. 

Add to that the Democrats’ obsession with closing prisons, thereby forcing early release, and that Gascón does not allow prosecutors to appear at parole hearings on behalf of victims to argue against parole. As a result, the child’s abuser is inevitably released back into the community before you know it.  

Just like Assemblywoman Schiavo’s abuser.  

I commend her support for Republican Sen. Shannon Grove’s Senate Bill 14 last year to increase penalties for child sex traffickers, notwithstanding that she initially did not support it until pressure from the public and Gov. Gavin Newsom forced it through the Assembly. I also appreciate her trying to prove she is “tough on crime” to her critics like Essayli, a former prosecutor, and her opponent Patrick Gipson, a retired sheriff’s deputy. Although I do wonder how her progressive supporters and Democrat Socialists of America base in the San Fernando Valley will react to this news.

But she never addressed why she thinks a child rape conviction should not be grounds to require forfeiture of sanctuary privileges. Instead, she condemned children sexually abused by illegal immigrants in her district to the same fate she herself describes as “the worst part” of her victimization: having to live side by side near her abuser after his short stint in jail.  

The fact is that Schiavo’s voting record reflects her position that California must remain a sanctuary when illegal immigrants are released from prison, even for the pedophiles. That no crime is too serious to warrant the mandatory forfeiture of sanctuary protections. This is ideological, not logical, policymaking and it is bad for California.  

I am a mom raising my young family in a more dangerous L.A. County than it was when I grew up here. We can’t leave our doors unlocked or allow our children to play outside unsupervised like when we were kids. I believe that, to prevent the type of crimes that were committed against Assemblywoman Schiavo, crimes against children should be punished severely. In my opinion, mere deportation is a kindness compared to what justice would truly look like.  

Elizabeth Barcohana 

Alternate, L.A. County GOP Central Committee

Los Angeles

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