Immigration was arguably the central issue of Donald Trump’s campaign, and as president, it appears Trump is following through with his promise to enforce the nation’s laws against illegal entry–particularly with regard to violent criminals.
As covered by the Washington Times, Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) recently apprehended nearly 500 illegal immigrants in operations specifically targeting cities that are uncooperative with federal immigration enforcement. The move effectively bypassed “sanctuary city” governments and resulted in the removal of hundreds of dangerous criminals from American streets.
The operation targeted gang members and other violent illegal immigrants. In total, ICE captured 498 people. More than 100 were caught in Los Angeles, another 100 in Philadelphia, and dozens more in cities like New York, Chicago, and Denver.
Of the illegal immigrants detained, 310 of them were ICE targets. The rest were “collateral” arrests. The surge in immigration apprehensions presents an increased danger for ICE officers, whose operations pit them against aggressive convicts.
The first 11 months of fiscal year 2017 has seen 37 assaults on ICE officers. There were only nine assaults in all of 2016. According to reports, none of the ICE officers involved in the “sanctuary sweep” was seriously injured.
The violent nature of current ICE targets serves as a stark contrast to the “peaceful” depiction of illegal immigrants Democrat governments, including California and New York, often use as justification for “sanctuary” policies.
ICE officials say they aren’t targeting illegal immigrants currently protected by Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. As Breitbart reported, the White House has chosen to rescind DACA, but current beneficiaries have their status honored for the next six months.
The current focus of immigration enforcement is on “criminal aliens,” which refers to gang members and individuals with a criminal history. Many of these offenders slip through the cracks and end up back on the street due to sanctuary city policies.
As the Daily Caller noted, ICE has repeatedly called on America’s cities to give immigration agents access to jails in order to apprehend and deport criminal illegal immigrants. It has also asked cities to give ICE a 48-hour notice prior to releasing any illegal immigrant from jail. Sanctuary cities refuse to cooperate with these measures.
In response, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has ordered the Justice Department to cut law enforcement funding to disobedient cities. But a federal judge blocked Sessions’ punitive measures against sanctuary cities earlier this month, as reported by The Hill. The ruling came as a result of a lawsuit by the city of Chicago against the Trump administration last month.
ICE apprehended nearly 500 illegal immigrants in sanctuary cities. Should agents be empowered to enforce the law?
ICE chief Thomas Homan has affirmed his determination to capture criminal illegal aliens in jails or on the streets, a pledge realized in the latest operation. In one ICE arrest, the target attempted to run over officers with a vehicle. A firearm was subsequently found in his possession.
A woman from El Salvador arrested in Baltimore had been released from prison without notification to ICE, despite an assault conviction and a murder charge on her record. In New York, ICE captured a man who local authorities shielded from deportation–even though he had been convicted of sexually assaulting a minor.
While immigration legislation continues to stall in Congress, the Trump administration is using the resources at its disposal, curbing illegal entry by giving federal officials freedom to enforce the laws.