As directed by executive order, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has issued its first report (available at http://tinyurl.com/mp8ow5r) identifying jurisdictions which obstruct ICE efforts to arrest and deport alien criminals, as well as the volume and severity of crimes enumerated among the aliens identified. Jurisdictions with sanctuary and de facto sanctuary policies will not be able to hide from the public safety impact of denying ICE detainer requests and releasing alien criminals back into our communities.
The report states that ICE issued 3,083 detainers in the week beginning January 28, 2017. This number is approximately double the average weekly number of detainers issued by ICE in the last two years of the Obama administration. In contrast, in 2011, which was the peak year for interior criminal alien enforcement, when the Secure Communities program was nearing full implementation, ICE issued an average of 6,080 detainers per week, or double the current rate. This indicates that ICE has the capacity to further increase the level of enforcement activity, even without a great infusion of resources.
During the week covered by the report, ICE officers discovered 206 instances of declined detainers, by 46 different jails, located in 16 different states, in which criminal aliens were released. Of those, 142 came from Travis County, Texas (which includes Austin). The report covers only those instances in which it was discovered that a detainer had been rejected by a local jail – not all instances in which a detainer was rejected. In most cases listed in this report, ICE discovered that the detainer was rejected because the criminal alien was encountered by ICE after release from the jail.
Dan Cadman, a Center fellow and author of the analysis, writes, “If this is only a week’s worth of harm, how bad cumulatively will things look in six weeks? Six months? And, how many more victims will be harmed by recidivism of criminal aliens who will learn the important lesson from their release that local police would rather put them back onto the street to commit more crimes than to cooperate with the federal government?”
The report lists these aliens’ criminal convictions and charges which include aggravated assault, domestic violence, robbery, rape and sexual assault. The Philadelphia Police Department even released one individual who had been charged with homicide. Anti-enforcement advocacy groups and proponents of sanctuary policies frequently assert that being arrested for a minor traffic offense is likely to lead to detention and deportation by ICE, but only three of the 206 aliens released were listed as having a traffic offense, and one of those was a hit and run which is not a minor offense.
The Center’s sanctuary jurisdiction map and spreadsheet of the alien criminal release cases will be updated weekly.