A national crisis generated by local law enforcement agencies offering even the most violent illegal immigrants sanctuary is driving federal officials to resort to desperate measures. Under a local-federal partnership known as 287(g), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is notified of jail inmates in the country illegally so that they can be deported after serving time for state crimes. Unfortunately, a growing number of local law enforcement agencies are instead releasing the illegal aliens—many with serious convictions such as child sex offenses, rape and murder—rather than turn them over to federal authorities for removal. Judicial Watch has reported on this extensively and just a few weeks ago outed yet another elected law enforcement official who freed a child sex offender and forbids his department from honoring ICE detainers.
Now ICE is trying to strike preemptively by publicly disclosing convicts, complete with mug shots, scheduled to be released before they are actually let go by police in municipalities that proudly offer illegal aliens sanctuary. It indicates that the federal agency is determined to do its job amid a growing wave of local resistance. This month ICE targeted six offenders incarcerated in two Maryland counties notorious for shielding illegal immigrants from the feds. These are no boy scouts and ICE is pleading with authorities in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties to hand over the prisoners instead of freeing them into the community. Most are incarcerated for sexual crimes involving children, including rape and serious physical abuse that resulted in death. A couple of the offenders are in jail for murder and assault and ICE wants them all transferred to its custody, so the illegal aliens don’t reoffend.
“The county leadership has chosen misguided politics over public safety,” said ICE’s Baltimore office director, Francisco Madrigal, in the statement announcing the upcoming scheduled releases. “The individuals we have lodged detainers against have been arrested in the community and will likely be released directly back into that community under these dangerous policies. We aren’t asking Montgomery County or Prince George’s County to conduct immigration enforcement, we’re asking them to honor a lawful request to transfer these individuals into our custody where they can avail themselves of due process in the immigration court system.” Judicial Watch reached out to law enforcement officials in both Maryland sanctuary counties, but calls went unanswered. ICE reminds them that when local jurisdictions refuse to cooperate with immigration enforcement, they betray their duty to protect public safety.
Besides Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, two other large Maryland jurisdictions—Baltimore County and the city of Baltimore—shield illegal immigrants from the feds and deportation. Maryland’s Attorney General, the state’s chief law enforcement official, issued a legal memo last year defending the practice. Complying with ICE detainers for criminal illegal aliens is voluntary, the Attorney General writes in the document, and state and local law enforcement officials are potentially exposed to liability if they hold someone beyond the release date determined by state law. In 2017, Baltimore’s Chief Deputy State’s Attorney instructed prosecutors to think twice before charging illegal immigrants with minor, non-violent crimes to shield them from Trump administration deportation efforts.
North Carolina is another state well known for releasing droves of illegal immigrant criminals back onto the streets after being jailed for serious state crimes. This fiscal year alone, nearly 500 offenders with ICE detainers were freed throughout the Tar Heel State. Just weeks before the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) disclosed those disturbing statewide figures, Judicial Watch reported that the elected sheriff of North Carolina’s largest county, Mecklenburg, released numerous violent offenders rather than turn them over to federal authorities for removal. Among them was a previously deported Honduran (33-year-old Oscar Pacheco-Leonardo) charged with rape and child sex offenses. Throughout his campaign, Mecklenburg‘s sheriff, Garry McFadden, promised to protect illegal immigrants and as soon as he got elected in 2018 he ended the program that notified ICE of jail inmates in the country illegally.