A case in Portland, Oregon, is the latest to shine a light on sanctuary cities after an illegal immigrant was arrested for sexual assaulting an elderly woman. 

The suspect, 31-year-old Sergio Martinez, had been deported from the U.S. at least 20 times and was previously released by local authorities in defiance of a federal immigration hold.

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Armed with a knife, Martinez attacked the 65-year-old victim in a parking garage last week, but the woman was able to scare him off after fighting back and pressing the panic button on her vehicle. 

On "Happening Now" today, legal analyst Jonna Spilbor said a "straight line" can be drawn from the city of Portland's sanctuary policies to crimes like this one. 

"Portland was not a sanctuary for the victim. ... Local authorities thumbed their nose at an ICE detainer. It's unacceptable," she said. 

Spilbor said lawyers should band together and start filing lawsuits against the cities who refuse to protect law-abiding citizens.

She compared it to a landlord who can be held liable for not taking adequate steps to protect his or her tenants in a crime-ridden neighborhood.

"What is the difference [with] municipalities who know they have violent criminals living among them and don't take the steps to protect the citizens who live there?" asked Spilbor, adding lawsuits could be a way to "fast-track" the defunding of sanctuary cities.

Watch the segment above. 

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