Illegal Aliens Released from Local Custody Commit More Crimes

Following a Judicial Watch lawsuit, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has reinstated a reporting system that informs the public about illegal immigrants who commit crimes after being released from state or local custody. The offenders are shielded by sanctuary policies that ban local law enforcement from honoring Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainers placed on illegal aliens who have been arrested on local criminal charges. If the detainer is honored ICE takes custody and deports the criminal rather than release him or her back into the community. When law enforcement agencies fail to honor immigration detainers and release serious criminal offenders, it undermines the federal government’s duty to protect public safety.

To pressure municipalities that protect illegal aliens, the Trump administration published weekly Declined Detainer Outcome Reports highlighting state and local governments that did not comply with ICE’s detainer program. The troublesome logs included details of illegal aliens who committed all sorts of atrocious crimes after local authorities let them go and identified the law enforcement agency that released them. Published on ICE’s website, the reports ignited outrage among open borders groups and their mainstream media allies, who complained that the information was controversial and discriminatory. One mainstream media outlet actually reported that “immigration advocates also criticized the list for singling out the criminals among undocumented immigrants without acknowledging the contributions of the broader population to their communities.”

DHS caved into the pressure and temporarily suspended the informative weekly Declined Detainer Outcome Reports. Judicial Watch immediately launched an investigation, requesting records from the agency under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and subsequently suing for the information. Sanctuary cities violate federal law and put the public at risk. In the last decade Judicial Watch has also gone to court to fight sanctuary policies nationwide, including in Arizona, California, Illinois, the District of Columbia and Texas, to name a few. In California alone, Judicial Watch has sued several municipalities for protecting illegal immigrant criminals. Among them are San Francisco, Los Angeles and Pasadena, though practically the entire state shields illegal immigrants from the feds, including serious criminals.

In fact, the reinstatement of the Declined Detainer Report includes a small sample from just the Golden State. ICE recently announced the report’s comeback and revealed it will be issued on a quarterly basis. “In order to increase transparency surrounding the immigration enforcement process, ICE will produce the Declined Detainer Report on a quarterly basis, beginning in the second quarter of Fiscal Year (FY) 2018,” the agency announcedrecently. “The report will highlight cases where ICE issued a detainer, the detainer was declined, and the alien subsequently committed a crime after being released from state or local custody. 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.”

The comeback report offers alarming details involving 16 illegal immigrants who committed crimes after being released by various California law enforcement agencies during a three-month period. Some were arrested and released multiple times by the same local law enforcement agency after committing felonies. In all of the cases, ICE issued detainers but local police ignored the federal agency to protect the illegal alien from deportation, instead freeing the perpetrator back into the community. Offenders include Mexican, Honduran and Salvadoran nationals charged with murder, rape, assault with a deadly weapon, spousal abuse, driving under the influence of alcohol, possession of illegal drugs and other serious crimes. One 23-year-old Honduran man was booked and released in San Francisco ten times in less than a year for crimes ranging from burglary, vehicle theft and driving without a license. In each of the arrests, ICE issued a detainer but the San Francisco Police Department disregarded it and let the man go.

Chris Crane, a veteran ICE agent who serves as president of the union that represents some 7,600 officers, reminds that this is only a tiny snippet of a national public safety crisis because the agency doesn’t have the manpower to track everyone released. “If I was working in a sanctuary city, my released criminal aliens that would reoffend would be more than five a year,” Crane said.

The motto of Judicial Watch is “Because no one is above the law”. To this end, Judicial Watch uses the open records or freedom of information laws and other tools to investigate and uncover misconduct by government officials and litigation to hold to account politicians and public officials who engage in corrupt activities.