‘ICE continues to face significant obstacles from dangerous policies created by local officials…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced on Tuesday that it had arrested 156 illegal immigrants, including 74 convicted criminals, following a six-day sweep in the Chicago area.
Eleven of those arrested had been previously released by local law enforcement agencies under “sanctuary city” policies, despite ICE having detainer holds on the suspects.
“When law enforcement agencies fail to honor immigration detainers and release serious criminal offenders onto the streets, it undermines ICE’s ability to protect public safety and carry out its mission,” the ICE press release said.
The detainees’ prior convictions ranged from homicide, commercial sex and drug trafficking to trespassing, retail theft and discharge of a firearm.
Ricardo Wong, field office director for ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations in Chicago, praised the operation’s success while underscoring the challenges of upholding immigration laws in left-leaning cities like Chicago.
“ICE continues to face significant obstacles from dangerous policies created by local officials which hinder cooperation between ICE and local law enforcement,” Wong said in the press release.
Among those arrested were 147 men and nine women, ranging from 19 to 64 years old.
All but 12 came from Central American countries, and 125 were from Mexico.
Thirty-six now face additional felony convictions for illegally re-entering the country after having been deported previously.
While those charged with existing deportation orders or who face a felony conviction for re-entry are subject to immediate removal, the other 106 will remain in the country to await a hearing from an immigration judge or pending travel arrangements.
In the week after Donald Trump’s 2016 election, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a former chief of staff for the Obama White House, joined cities like New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Philadelphia in doubling down on their “sanctuary” designations—essentially, their refusal to cooperate with federal immigration authorities in enforcing the law.
Led by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Justice Department has undergone a protracted legal battle to withhold funding from public safety grants until the cities cooperate with federal immigration detainer requests by providing them access to criminals held on local charges who may be deportable.
In April, however, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago dealt a blow to the Justice Department’s court challenge by upholding an injunction that required they hand over the grant money.
The ruling said it was Congress, not the Justice Department, who had authorized the public safety funds with no stipulations tied to immigration enforcement.
“Ultimately, efforts by local politicians have shielded removable criminal aliens from immigration enforcement and created another magnet for more illegal immigration, all at the expense of the safety and security of the very people it purports to protect,” ICE’s press release said.