SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – A convicted felon and illegally present Mexican national was arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) officers Tuesday near the courthouse in San Francisco, California. He has three felony convictions for 2nd degree burglary from 2016, 2017 and 2019. On Oct. 26, 2018, ICE lodged a detainer on this criminal alien. That detainer was not honored and he was released back into the community.
Over the past five years, this recently apprehended criminal alien has been arrested by local law enforcement at least seven times. ICE lodged eight detainers with local law enforcement following his arrests. Due to sanctuary laws, he was released back into the community to reoffend. He is currently in ICE custody pending immigration proceedings.
“California Assembly Bill 668 cannot and will not govern the conduct of federal officers acting pursuant to duly-enacted laws passed by Congress that provide the authority to make administrative arrests of removable aliens inside the United States,” Jennings added. “Our officers will not have their hands tied by sanctuary rules when enforcing immigration laws to remove criminal aliens from our communities.”
ICE maintains that cooperation by local law enforcement is an indispensable component of promoting public safety. It’s unfortunate that current California state laws and policies prevent local law enforcement agencies from working with ICE to promote public safety by holding criminals accountable and providing justice and closure for their victims. Sanctuary policies not only provide a refuge for illegal aliens, but they also shield criminal aliens who prey on people in their own and other communities.
ICE officers have been provided arrest authority by Congress and may lawfully arrest removable aliens at large, which is often necessitated by local policies that prevent law enforcement from cooperating with ICE efforts to arrange custody transfers in a secure and safe manner.
Despite attempts to prevent ICE officers from doing their jobs, ICE will continue to carry out its mission to uphold public safety and enforce immigration law and consider carefully whether to refer those who obstruct our lawful enforcement efforts for criminal prosecution.
Under federal law, ICE has the authority to lodge immigration detainers with law enforcement partners who have custody of individuals arrested on criminal charges and who ICE has probable cause to believe are removable aliens. Congress has established no process, requirement, or expectation that ICE seek a judicial warrant from already overburdened federal courts before taking custody of an alien on civil immigration violations. This idea is simply a fabrication created by those who wish to undermine immigration enforcement and excuse the ill-conceived practices of sanctuary jurisdictions that put politics before public safety.
Any local jurisdiction thinking that refusing to cooperate with ICE will result in a decrease in local immigration enforcement is mistaken. Local jurisdictions that choose to not cooperate with ICE are likely to see an increase in ICE enforcement activity, as ICE the agency has no choice but to conduct more at-large arrest operations.
ICE’s mission remains consistent: to identify, arrest and remove aliens who present a danger to national security or are a risk to public safety, as well as those who enter the country illegally or otherwise undermine the integrity of our immigration laws and our border control efforts.
Sanctuary Policies Put Public Safety at Risk
When law enforcement agencies do not honor ICE detainers, these individuals, who often have significant criminal histories, are released onto the street, presenting a potential public safety threat. Any local jurisdiction thinking that refusing to cooperate with ICE will result in a decrease in local immigration enforcement is mistaken. Local jurisdictions that choose to not cooperate with ICE are likely to see an increase in ICE enforcement activity, as ICE the agency has no choice but to conduct more at-large arrest operations.
A consequence of ICE being forced to make more arrests on the streets is the agency is likely to encounter other unlawfully present foreign nationals that would mot have been encountered had ICE been allowed to take custody of a criminal target within the confines of a local jail. Additionally, once these criminals are out on the street, confirming their whereabouts is often time consuming and resource intensive. Many ICE arrest targets are seasoned criminals who are savvy about eluding law enforcement.
Despite the severe challenges that local policies have created for ICE, we remain committed to our public safety mission and we will continue to do our sworn duty to seek out dangerous criminal aliens and other immigration violators. ICE seeks straightforward cooperation with all local law enforcement and elected officials. ICE deportation officers carry out targeted enforcement actions every day in locations around the country as part of the agency’s ongoing efforts to protect the nation, uphold public safety, and protect the integrity of our immigration laws and border controls.
ICE lodges detainers on individuals who have been arrested on criminal charges and who ICE has probable cause to believe are removable aliens. The detainer asks the other law enforcement agency to notify ICE in advance of release and to maintain custody of the alien for a brief period of time so that ICE can take custody of the person in a safe and secure setting upon release from that agency’s custody. When law enforcement agencies fail to honor immigration detainers and release serious criminal offenders onto the streets, it undermines ICE’s ability to protect public safety and carry out its mission.
Congress has established no process, requirement, or expectation directing ICE to seek a judicial warrant from already overburdened federal courts before taking custody of an alien on civil immigration violations. This idea is simply a figment created by those who wish to undermine immigration enforcement and excuse the ill-conceived practices of sanctuary jurisdictions that put politics before public safety.