Sanctuary Cities Protect Criminals

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Posted: Feb 11, 2020 11:10 AM
Sanctuary Cities Protect Criminals

Source: Courtesy of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

There is an increasing trend, supported largely in progressive-run cities, counties, and states, to not cooperate with federal officials in dealing with the crime wave due to felonies committed by illegal immigrants. Indeed, there is a growing movement to abolish ICE, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency, altogether. 

The Heritage Foundation reports that:

“Non-citizens constitute only about 7 percent of the U.S. population. Yet the latest data from the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics reveals that non-citizens accounted for nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of all federal arrests in 2018…Non-citizens accounted for 24 percent of all federal drug arrests, 25 percent of all federal property arrests, and 28 percent of all federal fraud arrests. In 2018, a quarter of all federal drug arrests took place in the five judicial districts along the U.S.-Mexico border. This reflects the ongoing activities of Mexican drug cartels. Last year, Mexican citizens accounted for 40 percent of all federal arrests. In fact, more Mexicans than U.S. citizens were arrested on charges of committing federal crimes in 2018. Migrants from Central American countries are also accounting for a larger share of federal arrests, going from a negligible 1 percent of such arrests in 1998 to 20 percent today.”

Sanctuary policies produce two substantial results for the legal inhabitants of a jurisdiction. First, they increase costs, and second, they protect portions of the criminal population.

Despite the fiction disseminated by sanctuary policy supporters, there is no mass roundup of illegals that require the countermeasure of sanctuary protection. Sanctuary policies primarily serve to protect criminals apprehended by local law enforcement agencies from being handed over to the federal government for deportation proceedings.

The Center for Immigration Studies notes that:

“Numerous cities, counties, and states have laws, ordinances, regulations, resolutions, policies, or other practices that obstruct immigration enforcement and shield criminals from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) — either by refusing to or prohibiting agencies from complying with ICE detainers, imposing unreasonable conditions on detainer acceptance, denying ICE access to interview incarcerated aliens, or otherwise impeding communication or information exchanges between their personnel and federal immigration officers. A detainer is the primary tool used by ICE to gain custody of criminal aliens for deportation. It is a notice to another law enforcement agency that ICE intends to assume custody of an alien and includes information on the alien’s previous criminal history, immigration violations, and potential threat to public safety or security.”

According to ICE, the agency relies on the exchange of information with its law enforcement agency (LEA) partners to access foreign-born inmates at local, state, and federal facilities, and the use of detainers as part of its public safety mission. In many cases, these individuals pose a demonstrable threat to communities. By lodging detainers against those individuals, ICE makes every effort to ensure that removable aliens are turned over to ICE custody at the conclusion of their criminal detention rather than being released into the community where many abscond or reoffend. For example, we know that one group of criminal aliens that ICE has researched has a recidivism rate of 46%.

It is instructive to review a key sample jurisdiction. Indeed, a review of the New York City and Westchester County ICE coverage area is quite revealing.

According to ICE, Last fiscal year, ICE lodged 7,526 detainers by their New York Field Office. The criminals against whom these detainers were lodged accounted for 17,873 criminal convictions, and another 6,500 criminal charges. The crimes these individuals had been convicted or charged with included 200 homicides, Over 500 robberies, Over 1,000 sexual offenses, Over 1,000 weapons offenses, Over 3,500 assaults, and Over 1,500 DUIs.

The statistics clearly indicate that the presence of illegal alien criminals is a clear and substantial danger to U.S. communities.  

Frank Vernuccio serves as the editor-in-chief of the New York Analysis of Policy & Government.