ICE Isn’t the Problem, Criminals Are

On September 5, two U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers attempted to arrest 39-year-old Mexican national Jose Fernando Andrade-Sanchez outside a Food Lion grocery store in the Antioch neighborhood of Nashville, Tennessee. Andrade-Sanchez attempted to run over one of the immigration officers with the box truck he was driving. Acting in self-defense, the officer shot him. Wounded, Andrade-Sanchez fled the scene but later turned himself in to ICE. Although, you would never know that’s how the story played out based on the vast majority of the mainstream media coverage.

Describing the shooting, a Tenessean/USA Today article says that Andrade-Sanchez drove, “toward one of the officers who was standing in front of the truck.” And the vast majority of the coverage by other outlets is similarly vague and dismissive. Buzzfeed says, “The man tried to flee the scene in a white box truck and drove toward an agent who then fired two bullets at him.” CNN says that an ICE officer shot Andrade-Sanchez, “as he drove his truck forward and fled the scene.” The clear implication is that ICE shot some poor foreigner who was just minding his own business.

In reality, Andrade-Sanchez is an illegal alien criminal from Mexico. He was previously deported from the U.S. and unlawfully re-entered the country. He has a domestic assault conviction sustained after he beat his girlfriend senseless and punched her three-year-old child in the face, breaking the toddler’s nose.  He later sustained a second conviction for criminal impersonation and failure to identify himself to a police officer.

ICE had more than adequate cause to arrest Andrade-Sanchez. While ICE’s Office of Professional Responsibility and the FBI are still investigating the incident, it isn’t a stretch to conclude that a man who would beat up a three-year-old would also have no problem attempting to run down a federal agent in order to avoid arrest. Andrade-Sanchez was very clearly what President Trump would refer to as a “bad hombre.”

But virtually all of the media coverage portrays ICE’s actions, not Andrade-Sanchez’s lawless behavior, as the problem. Buzzfeed breathlessly noted that the shooting is being investigated by the FBI, as if ICE had committed some type of serious crime. And the website says that residents of the Nashville neighborhood where he was arrested, “have expressed fear and anxiety over the fact that ICE has escalated a civil matter into the use of deadly force.”

Such commentary is unconscionably misleading:

  • The FBI investigates a significant number of shootings involving officers from other federal law enforcement agencies. It does so in order to avoid the impression that the officers of a particular agency are covering up unlawful action by one of their own.
  • Federal law enforcement officers effectuating a civil arrest don’t give up their right to respond accordingly when attacked with deadly force. Attempting to murder an Immigration Officer by running him over with a box truck is assault with a deadly weapon. An officer so assaulted is entitled to respond with deadly force. 

Rather than furnishing facts about the immigration situation in the United States and letting the public draw its own conclusions, big media have now appointed themselves the guardian of criminal illegal aliens’ interests. But mainstream news outlets are peddling a dangerous narrative that fuels radical demands to abolish ICE.

Illegal aliens aren’t stupid. Rogue media outlets and sanctuary jurisdictions flip the script, portraying ICE as bad guys and illegal aliens as victims. They send a clear (but false) message to immigration violators that they are exempt from complying with the law. And that false narrative creates a dangerous situation for everyone involved: illegal aliens, ICE officers and members of the community who happen to be bystanders.

Andrade-Sanchez survived and a federal grand jury sitting in Nashville has indicted him for criminally re-entering the United States. Now, if only the media would stop indicting ICE for doing its assigned job – protecting Americans from violent criminals like Jose Fernando Andrade-Sanchez.

About Author


Matthew J. O’Brien joined the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in 2016. Matt is responsible for managing FAIR’s research activities. He also writes content for FAIR’s website and publications. Over the past twenty years he has held a wide variety of positions focusing on immigration issues, both in government and in the private sector. Immediately prior to joining FAIR Matt served as the Chief of the National Security Division (NSD) within the Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate (FDNS) at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), where he was responsible for formulating and implementing procedures to protect the legal immigration system from terrorists, foreign intelligence operatives, and other national security threats. He has also held positions as the Chief of the FDNS Policy and Program Development Unit, as the Chief of the FDNS EB-5 Division, as Assistant Chief Counsel with U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement, as a Senior Advisor to the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman, and as a District Adjudications Officer with the legacy Immigration & Naturalization Service. In addition, Matt has extensive experience as a private bar attorney. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in French from the Johns Hopkins University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Maine School of Law.


  1. avatar

    “The FBI investigates a significant number of shootings involving officers from other federal law enforcement agencies. It does so in order to avoid the impression that the officers of a particular agency are covering up unlawful action by one of their own.”

    Why did the FBI not charge Mr. Andrade-Sanchez with assault with a deadly weapon? Perhaps it’s because there is not enough evidence to suggest that the man actually attempted to run over the officer with the vehicle…

  2. avatar

    They should’nt be in our country to start off with. It isn’t fair to the American people. They need to be sent back. Every last one of them. They are bringing all their disease ‘S here, making our people sick. They are overrunning our country. Our Government need to stop handing them everything on a silver platter. We are really getting fed up with this mess. Send them back to their own country. We don’t’ want them here.

  3. avatar

    Another case where the left loves criminals over law enforcement, whether it be ICE or the local cop on the beat. Senator Mike Lee is pledging to pass his Fairness For High Skilled Immigrants Act [S. 386] by the 27th. What it should be called is the Fire Even More American Tech Workers So Tech Companies Can Pay H1B Workers Less Act. If there is a backlog for Indians that is not OUR problem. It’s another case of we have laws and guidelines for entry to this country that have been in place for decades. Nothing “unfair” when the rules are made clear to begin with. Just more American politicians caving in to their corporate masters at the expense of American workers.

  4. avatar

    Politicians are the problem that enable the criminals and disable the ICE authorities to do their job— which places EVERYONE in danger!

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