Acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Matthew Albence today called for the discontinuation of jurisdictional sanctuary policies, declaring in a White House press briefing that “people are being hurt and victimized every day because of jurisdictions that refuse to cooperate with ICE.”
Surrounded by a handful of sheriffs and ICE officials, Albence called it “frustrating to see senseless acts of violence and other criminal activity happen in our communities, knowing full well that ICE could have prevented them with just a little cooperation.”
“The fact is that 70 percent of the arrests ICE makes are at local jails and state prisons across the country,” he said. “But we used to make more, and we used to get more criminals off the street before sanctuary laws and policies prevented us from doing so, leaving us with no choice but to expend significant additional resources to locate and arrest criminal aliens and other immigration violators out in the community, including at their homes and places of employment, a more dangerous undertaking for our officers and a more disruptive action within our communities. And simply put, a less effective method.”
Albence added that ICE would “much rather take custody of criminal aliens in the safety of a jail environment instead of sending our officers out to perform the dangerous and difficult task of finding them all over again because a local law enforcement agency has refused to allow us to exercise our lawful federal authority to make an immigration arrest.”
He cited an ICE operation targeting a “large criminal alien operation” where “of the nearly 1,300 arrests made this week, our officers arrested nearly 200 who could have been arrested at the jail if the detainer had been honored.”
“Of the criminal aliens we took into custody this week, three had convictions for manslaughter or murder. One hundred had convictions for sexual assault or crimes, with the victims of nearly half of them being children. Seventy had convictions for crimes involving drugs and more than 320 had convictions for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol,” he said, not breaking down how many of those were among the 200 who had “been released from uncooperative sanctuary jurisdictions.”
So far this fiscal year, ICE has lodged more than 160,000 detainers nationwide, he said.
“They proclaim that community trust and local police will be disrupted or degraded if these local agencies work with ICE,” Albence said of sanctuary policy proponents. “But, what these pro-sanctuary advocates do not acknowledge is that when these released criminal aliens commit further crimes, their first target is often the very immigrant communities that sanctuary advocates claim to be protecting.”
The acting director added that it’s “time to publicly call out those who have put politics over public safety, those who make our communities less secure, who create safe havens in which criminal aliens and gangs are allowed to flourish and can victimize innocent people with impunity.”
To do that, ICE leaders were holding similar press conferences today in sanctuary jurisdictions around the country.
“California, where the recidivism rate among some illegal alien cohorts is 46 percent. King County, Washington, Chicago, New York City, New Jersey, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, Denver, Colorado,” Albence continued. “You may be the first we’re calling out, but you won’t be the last. This needs to stop. Work with us. Find a way that we can jointly prevent murders, pedophiles, rapists, drug dealers, and domestic abusers from being released back into our communities. It’s plain and simple.”
Albence asked citizens to “hold your lawmakers accountable” on sanctuary policies.