ice_arrest_eldoradoOn March 23, four Republican members of Congress sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson, challenging the Administration for undermining Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) detainers. (Letter to Johnson from Sessions, Cornyn, Goodlatte, and Gowdy, Mar. 23, 2015) They pointed out that ICE’s early March dragnet, which captured 2,059 illegal aliens convicted of serious crimes, would not have been necessary if state and local jurisdictions would cooperate with ICE and if DHS had not ended the Secure Communities Program. (Id.; seeFAIR Legislative Update, Mar. 24, 2015; see FAIR Legislative Update, Nov. 24, 2014)

While ICE Director Sarah Saldaña touted the operation for taking criminals “off our streets,” and exemplifying the agency’s “commitment to making our communities safer,” the Congressmen pointed out that aliens already convicted of serious crimes should never have been on the streets in the first place. (ICE Press Release, Mar. 9, 2015; Letter to Johnson, Mar. 23, 2015) “Costly operations to apprehend at-large criminal aliens,” who have committed crimes like manslaughter, robbery, kidnapping, rape, and child pornography, are needed only because state and local jurisdictions do not cooperate with ICE, they wrote. (Id.) These “sanctuary cities” refuse to honor ICE detainers, to advise ICE before releasing criminal aliens, or to allow ICE access to detention facilities, it said. (Id.)

Read the rest from FAIR’s Legislative Update