If you’re carrying anything breakable, put it down before you read this and drop it: CNN issued a report detailing Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) lying to an Iowa audience on Sunday about a policy she supported in 2008 that called for illegal immigrants who were minors to be claimed by Immigration and Customs Enforcement if they were only suspected but not convicted of having committed a felony.
Harris had joined Political Party Live, an Iowa podcast, where she was queried by host Misty Rebik about her support of the 2008 policy, enacted by then-San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom. Rebik mentioned a CNN KFile report that detailed Harris’ support; it read:
As district attorney of San Francisco, Kamala Harris supported a city policy that required law enforcement to turn over undocumented juvenile immigrants to federal immigration authorities if they were arrested and suspected of committing a felony, regardless of whether they were actually convicted of a crime.
CNN noted that in San Francisco, a sanctuary city since 1989, police were not forced to offer information to federal immigration authorities about their dealings with illegal immigrants. In 1992, the city changed the policy so that adult illegal immigrants would no longer be immune from the information-trading process, but minors were still off-limits. But after a 21-year-old illegal immigrant was arrested for triple murder, and he had a prior conviction as a 17-year-old for attempted robbery and assault but hadn’t been reported to the federal authorities, Newsom changed the policy to include minors.
Rebik asked, "Could you kind of give us some insight on how, from that time, when for whatever reason you were supporting this policy that was essentially handing over undocumented people to ICE before they had been convicted to now -- kind of what's changed on that and how you came to those changes?"
Harris answered by saying that reporting illegal immigrant minors to ICE was an “unintended consequence” of the 2008 policy. She said:
That ended up being an unintended consequence of the policy and I did not support that consequence of that policy. And that policy I believe has since changed because it was not the intended purpose of that policy. I'll say this, and I feel very strongly about it, and I always have, which is this, my background is as a prosecutor and I want to know that a person, a victim of a rape or a child molestation, or a vicious violent crime, I want to know that that victim will be able to run in the middle of the street and wave down a police officer and receive protection and security without having to worry about if they do that they will be deported.
CNN took Harris to task, although instead of saying she was lying, wrote that she “mischaracterized” her history vis-à-vis the policy. CNN wrote:
Harris' comments mischaracterized her history on the policy. Reporting arrested undocumented juveniles to ICE was not an "unintended consequence" of the policy, it was the policy. Newsom and Harris have both since said that they supported the policy as a measure to protect San Francisco's overall status as a sanctuary city, but the policy itself was enacted as ordered by the mayor.
Harris spokesman Ian Sams defended Harris’ “mischaracterization":
As Governor Newsom has said, the initial policy was intended to protect the sanctuary status of San Francisco, which Senator Harris has always supported and defended. We have said this policy should have been done differently, but as Senator, Harris is focused on protecting Dreamers, fighting this president's attempts to build a vanity project on the southern border, exercising more oversight of ICE, reforming our immigration system with a path to citizenship, and reuniting families separated by this administration. Those will be her priorities should she be elected president.
CNN continued by noting that the reason the policy was changed was a change in administration. CNN added, “There was an active push by the city's Board of Supervisors when Harris and Newsom were in city office to change the policy to prohibit reporting juvenile undocumented immigrants to ICE unless they had been convicted of a felony. But those efforts were opposed by Harris and Newsom, with Harris saying in one speech she said the Board of Supervisors bill violated federal immigration law.”