In anticipation of last weekend’s planned Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) enforcement actions, officials from the largest of the targeted sanctuary cities doubled down on their obstruction by offering advice to illegal immigrants who might be detained as part of the intended sweeps. Some elected leaders went well beyond offering advice.
While, in the past, Chicago Police Department (CPD) officers have been allowed to cooperate with ICE if targeted individuals are in the city’s gang database or have an outstanding criminal warrant, Mayor Lori Lightfoot has now ended that practice, permanently barring ICE from accessing any city databases. In a July 14 open letter to President Trump, the mayor defended her actions, even claiming “this Admin’s anti-immigrant posture doesn’t make us safer or stronger as a nation.”
It was an assertion was proven to be pure fantasy by the facts included in the ICE’s Declined Detainer Report released the same day. According to the report, which will be issued on a quarterly basis, hundreds of alleged criminal aliens were released back onto the streets after sanctuary cities in California refused to comply with ICE detainers -filed between January 1 and March 31 of 2018.
One example of the kind of individual protected by sanctuary policies is a 35-year-old Mexican illegal alien , who was removed by ICE in 2009, re-entered the U.S. after removal, and was arrested on February 17, 2018 in Santa Clara County on larceny charges. ICE issued a detainer request three days later, but the Mexican was released from Santa Clara County Jail. He was arrested again several months later and again another detainer request was issued but local authorities released him again. He remains at large.
Other crimes listed in the Declined Detainer Report include driving under the influence, spousal battery, drug and weapons possession, and burglary.
“Because ICE is often not alerted by uncooperative jurisdictions when a detainer has been declined, and because ICE may only learn of the detainer having been declined after an alien is arrested for a subsequent offense, the cases contained in this report are examples of a broader public safety issue and are not exhaustive,” notes the report summary.
In addition to increasing the odds that criminals will be able to prey again, the refusal to comply with ICE detainers also increases the chances that innocent bystanders could be harmed or injured.
“At-large enforcement actions can carry greater safety risks when compared to taking an alien into custody in the secure and controlled environment of a jail where, for example, individuals have been screened for weapons,” the report says. “Ultimately, a jurisdiction’s decision to ignore ICE detainers increases the need for ICE’s presence in communities and requires additional resources to locate and arrest removable aliens.”
So, the sanctuary politicians not only increase the likelihood ICE will need to conduct sweeps in immigrant communities, but also raise the risks associated with doing so. Certainly does not seem to be the sound public safety approach these politicians claim they support.