Almost 300 Illegal Alien Criminals Released in Late 2016
Hundreds of counties across the U.S. refused to cooperate with ICE detainer requests; Ventura County and Miami top list
California’s Ventura County and Florida’s Miami-Dade County released the highest numbers of criminal illegal aliens after denying U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainer requests during the first quarter of fiscal year 2017, according to data released by Judicial Watch this week.
Ventura County, just north of Los Angeles, has resisted President Donald Trump’s administrative crackdown on “sanctuary cities,” shielding illegal immigrants from deportation. The county proved to be the highest offender, ignoring 188 ICE requests to hold criminal aliens from October through December of 2016.
Miami-Dade County found itself in second place by declining to honor 93 detainer requests, rejecting the federal government’s request to hold on to illegal aliens arrested and jailed for local offenses whom ICE had probable cause to believe were removable from the United States.
Next on the list were Denver, Colorado, with 74 illegal aliens released; Clark, Nevada, with 68; and Los Angeles, California, with 57. A total of 284 detainers were declined during the first three months of fiscal year 2017 involving 16 criminal aliens who’d committed various forms of assault, 39 who’d been in jail for drug and alcohol-related charges, and 18 who’d been jailed for weapons charges and crimes against persons and property.
The Judicial Watch information was obtained through a Freedom of Information Act Request for records of declined detainer requests and was granted only after the organization sued and a judge ordered the Department of Homeland Security to comply.
The documents show that hundreds of countries across the country refused to grant ICE requests to hold onto criminal illegal aliens, to give ICE officers a chance to arrive at the jail or prison to take them into custody.
One document that was obtained was an April 6, 2017, email from Acting Director of Homeland Security Thomas Homan to Homeland Security staff in response to complaints from Sen. Chuck Schumer’s (D-N.Y.) office about errors in the list of detainer requests that were denied in New York State. In the email, Homan called New York City “extremely uncooperative,” saying: “They removed our officers from Rikers Island and will not honor detainers. I met with them personally last year in an effort to gain more cooperation.”
In at least one case that was described in documents, local law enforcement actively obstructed ICE.
“Hennepin County Adult Detention Center [Minnesota] released an alien out the front door of the jail as an ICE officer was waiting in their sally port to take him into custody,” a Department of Homeland Security employee wrote.
“These new documents confirm that sanctuary policies are dangerous and help the worst of worst criminal element,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The complaints of sanctuary politicians aside, the Trump administration must catalogue the continued threat to the public safety caused by lawless sanctuary policies.”
Some jurisdictions have cracked down since Trump threatened to withhold federal Justice Department grant money from those cities and counties that refuse ICE detainer requests.
In January, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Giménez, a Cuban-American and a Republican, penned a letter to the county corrections department ordering it to honor all detainer requests from the Department of Homeland Security.
But many cities have continued to refuse to cooperate with ICE, and have made the jobs of ICE officers more difficult and more dangerous, according to the agency, as ICE agents are forced to go into neighborhoods to locate and remove criminal aliens, rather than having them handed over at a local or county jail, in a secure setting.
There are now almost 1 million criminal illegal aliens at large in the United States.
A 2011 report done by the Government Accountability Office looked at 251,000 criminal aliens in federal, state, and local prisons and jails and found they’d been arrested almost 1.7 million times for close to 3 million crimes. Their offenses ranged from homicide and kidnapping to drugs, burglary, and larceny. The majority were from Mexico.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has given sanctuary cities one “last chance” — until October 27 — to cooperate with ICE.