Since local law enforcement in New York, NY has refused to cooperate with federal officials under the guise that the Big Apple is a “sanctuary city” for illegal aliens, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had to take matters into their own hands — and did they ever.
A news release from ICE revealed that 118 illegal immigrants were detained as part of a five-day operation in and around New York City, Long Island, and the Hudson River Valley region last month.
ICE sweeps up criminals
Of the 118 illegal aliens arrested by ICE between Jan. 14-18, at least 107 had prior criminal convictions or pending criminal charges against them, many of which were for serious or violent crimes, including aggravated assault, burglary, driving while intoxicated, drug possession and distribution, sexual assault, and human trafficking.
The aliens originated from some 21 different nations, including many in Central and South America, Europe, and the Caribbean, according to the news release.
ICE went on to report that nearly half of those arrested — 55 out of the 118 — had either already been ordered to be deported but failed to leave the country or had previously been deported to their home country but returned to the United States. Worse still, more than 35 of those arrested were previously in the custody of local law enforcement but were released in spite of active detainers — requests to continue holding an individual in custody — placed on them by ICE.
“In years past, most of these individuals would have been turned over to ICE by local authorities upon their release from jail based on ICE detainers,” the agency’s news release stated. “Now that many sanctuary cities, including New York City, do not honor ICE detainers, these individuals, who often have significant criminal histories, are released onto the street, presenting a potential public safety threat.”
Taking the blame
Indeed, if leaders of so-called “sanctuary cities” want to blame someone for the widespread arrests, ICE says they should look to themselves. Because the cities fail to honor ICE detainers, the agency “has no choice but to continue to conduct at-large arrests in local neighborhoods and at worksites, which will inevitably result in additional collateral arrests, instead of focusing on arrests at jails and prisons where transfers are safer for ICE officers and the community.”
The agency also accused “local NYC politicians” of shielding “removable criminal aliens from immigration enforcement” and creating “another magnet for more illegal immigration, all at the expense of the safety and security of the very people it purports to protect.”
Following the sweep, field office director of ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations in New York Thomas R. Decker lauded his agents for their dedication despite the hardships placed on them by cities like NYC.
“The success of this operation is a direct result of the full commitment of the dedicated men and women of ICE,” Decker said. “In spite of the significant obstacles that ICE faces due to the dangerous policies created by local jurisdictions, which hinders the cooperation between ICE and local law enforcement, ICE will continue to devote the full efforts of our agency to protecting citizens and enforcing federal immigration law despite challenges being pursued by politically motivated individuals.”
At least 8 of those arrested in last month’s sweep were immediately charged criminally in U.S. District Court for illegal re-entry into the U.S. after a prior deportation, and were remanded to the custody of U.S. Marshals to await their trials.
According to ICE, arrestees who aren’t facing immediate federal prosecution will remain in custody until they have a hearing before an immigration judge or other arrangements are made for their removal. Those who already had an order of deportation levied against them will be deported back to their home countries swiftly.