This week, officials from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released a report regarding an enforcement operation that was successful in the capture of over 125 illegal aliens throughout the state of California, where sanctuary policies have largely prohibited the cooperation of local law enforcement agencies with ICE or other federal agencies in the arrest of criminal aliens.
The ICE enforcement actions took place Sept. 28 to Oct 2, 2020 and targeted aliens subject to removal who were arrested for crimes but were released by state or local law enforcement agencies, despite having active immigration detainers in place. Over 95% percent of those aliens arrested, had criminal convictions or pending criminal charges at the time of their arrest.
“Unfortunately, certain local politicians, including many in California continue to put politics over public safety. Instead of fulfilling our shared mission to protect our communities, they would rather play politics with the law by enacting so-called sanctuary city policies to the detriment of our country’s safety,” said Acting Secretary Chad Wolf
“Operation Rise is proof-positive that we will never back down from enforcing the rule of law, with or without the cooperation of local politicians,” said Wolf in a report sent to the 13,000-member National Association of Chief of Police.
“A part of ICE’s mission is to protect the American people and provide security to our communities. We accomplish this when we are partners and not adversaries with our localities. These partnerships allow ICE to secure dangerous criminal aliens prior to their release into the communities thereby reducing the opportunity for recidivist behavior,” said Tony H. Pham, Senior Official Performing the Duties of the ICE Director.
“Unfortunately, California’s sanctuary laws protect and shield criminal aliens, harboring them in our communities where they can potentially reoffend and revictimize,” Pham noted.
During these recent enforcement actions, ICE officers in California identified, targeted and captured many criminal aliens who were previously released from local and state law enforcement custody despite having lawful immigration detainers lodged with local law enforcement officials.
In the Los Angeles-area alone, officers arrested nearly 100 unlawfully present individuals – with criminal histories that include homicide, sexual assault, sex crimes involving children, assault, robbery, domestic violence and DUI.
Arrests made during this enforcement action included:
- A 40-year-old citizen and national of El Salvador arrested on Sept. 29 in Los Angeles and convicted by the Los Angeles Superior Court of first-degree murder in November 2009. Despite an immigration detainer lodged with the Los Angeles County Jail (LACJ), the jail declined to honor the detainer and instead released him into the community. He is now in ICE custody pending removal proceedings.
- A 50-year-old citizen and national of Mexico arrested on Sept. 28, in Long Beach, California, and convicted by the Los Angeles Superior Court of conspiracy to commit second-degree murder in June 1994. Despite an immigration detainer lodged with the LACJ, the jail declined to honor the detainer and instead released him into the community. He had a final order of removal and was deported back to Mexico the same day.
Nationally, approximately 86% of ERO’s administrative arrests in FY2019, consisted of aliens with criminal convictions or pending criminal charges. According to ICE officials:
In FY 2019, ICE arrested individuals with more than 1,900 convictions and charges for homicide, 1,800 for kidnapping, 12,000 sex offenses, 5,000 sexual assaults, 45,000 assaults, 67,000 crimes involving drugs, 10,000 weapons offenses, and 74,000 DUIs. ICE continues to target criminal aliens and other public safety and national security threats every day.
ICE takes many factors into account when targeting and arresting individuals, including their criminal and immigration history.
Sanctuary policies restrict most forms of cooperation with federal immigration authorities and vastly impede ICE’s ability to work with partner agencies, according to ICE officials, requiring ICE to arrest at-large criminal aliens in the communities, instead of a secure, jail environment.
ICE maintains that cooperation with local law enforcement is essential to protecting public safety, and the agency aims to work cooperatively with local jurisdictions to ensure that criminal aliens are not released into U.S. communities to commit additional crimes.