Linked below, are two recent press releases from ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) that deal with a series of successful field operations. The most recent of these press releases was published on February 26th of this year while the other was published this past December. These press releases are significant because they show how ICE can, when working synergistically with other law enforcement agencies can perform a vital function for our nation and our citizens, remove criminal aliens from our midst. Here are some other points that may not be immediately obvious that I want you to pay particular attention to:
In both press releases the point was made that some of the criminal aliens who were arrested were citizens of African and Middle Eastern countries. Considering the close call our nation suffered on Christmas Day of last year when an airliner was nearly destroyed as it prepared to land in Detroit, at the hands of a Nigerian citizen who sought to carry out a terrorist attack in our nation, it is important to note that a number of the aliens who were arrested in these publicized field operations were apparently citizens of “Special Interest” countries, that is to say, countries which have ties to terrorist organizations.
Both California and Texas are obviously Border States and while the information contained in the press released failed to identify the specific countries the aliens from the Middle Eastern and African countries came from, it would be interesting to know if these aliens had entered the United States via the inspections process or by running our nation’s borders. (I am willing to bet that at least some of these aliens had run the border, making it clear that the porous nature of our nation’s borders provide access to aliens who are not simply intent on doing menial jobs in the United States.
Next it is important to note that the press releases make the point that criminal aliens who are deported and unlawfully reenter the United States can be subject to a maximum of 20 years in prison for the single crime of felony reentry. This particular point provides me, personally, with a great deal of satisfaction because I had coordinated an effort, in the early 1980’s to convince then New York Senator Al D’amato to rewrite the immigration laws to distinguish aliens who had been convicted of felonies who are deported and subsequently reenter the United States unlawfully, from aliens who have no such previous criminal histories. This is not about attempting to dislocate my shoulder by patting myself on the back, but rather to show how laws can be written to deal effectively with important issues that threaten national security and the safety of our citizens.
Additionally, it is important to consider the mention of the 287(g) program at the conclusion of these press releases and the fact that ICE acknowledges that:
“…Sadly, many of the people victimized by aliens who commit crimes are other members of the immigrant community, who are following the rules.”
This should make it clear that when criminal aliens enter our country, while all who live in the United States are placed at risk, the risk is often greater for the immigrant community.
This why it is astounding that the open borders advocates often vilify those of us who seek to insure our nation’s borders are secure and the immigration system has integrity by referring to us as being “anti-immigrant!”
In point of fact, my goal, when I was an INS special agent and today as a civilian, is to call attention to the failures of our government to secure our nation’s borders and create an immigration system that has real integrity to protect the lives of all who live in our country.
I am also at a loss to understand how anyone in the law enforcement profession could possibly oppose the effective use of the immigration laws to thwart the efforts of criminal aliens who are operating, often with near impunity in communities across our country.
I have, on previous occasions addressed the ways in which the effective use of the 287(g) program can enhance law enforcement efforts to protect our nation and communities across our nation from criminal aliens. I have compiled a list of seven important benefits to be gained by having local and state law enforcement agencies work cooperatively with ICE. At the risk of being repetitive, here is that list, once again:
The 287(g) program under which local law enforcement officers are trained to identify criminal aliens could be a force multiplier for ICE and the involved police departments. Here are 7 reasons why local law enforcement should welcome the advantages that the 287(g) program would provide:
Access to immigration files can provide investigative leads when a criminal alien is being sought as a fugitive or a suspect of a crime.
Access to immigration files can also provide vital information to a judge when a criminal alien is arrested and the judge is attempting to set the appropriate bail. The immigration file can provide documented evidence of risk of flight based on numerous identities the defendant may have previously used, occasions when the defendant jumped bail in an immigration matter and failed to appear for an immigration hearing. The file can also provide evidence of prior deportations. This could help to prevent those tragedies in which a criminal alien is arrested and then released on bail, only to commit another heinous crime while out on bail.
If a plea bargain is being arranged, local and state prosecutors should work in close cooperation with federal immigration counsels to make certain that in the process of working out a plea-bargain agreement that they don’t inadvertently eliminate a conviction for a crime that would render the alien deportable.
Working cooperatively with ICE, it would be easier to cultivate informants. Informants are often essential to the successful investigation and prosecution of criminals and criminal organizations as well as terrorists and their associates. The immigration laws provide a huge “carrot” as well as a huge “stick” to this end.
There are a number of laws that can be used to hammer criminal aliens under the federal code. For example, the penalty for an illegal alien found to be in possession of a firearm carries a ten year penalty. There are other such laws to be found in the federal code that deals with the possession and use of false identity documents and for the crime of unlawful reentry after deportation. A criminal alien who is deported from the United States and then reenters the United States with the authority of the government faces a maximum of 20 years in jail. (I am proud to have played a role in convincing the then Senior Senator from the State of New York, Alphonse D’Amato to create the legislation that distinguished criminal aliens who are deported and reenter the United States illegally for illegal aliens who had no previous criminal convictions.)
When an alien is convicted of a felony and when state and local law enforcement authorities work in close coordination with federal immigration authorities, a detainer can be lodged to make certain that upon release from custody when the criminal alien’s sentence is completed, the criminal alien will face deportation (removal) from the United States.
There are instances when it is advantageous to the investigation to arrest a key individual(s) without alerting other members of the criminal or terrorist organization he is a part of, that the entire organization is being investigated. In such instances, it is often easy to find of violation of the immigration laws to enable law enforcement to arrest these individuals for administrative or criminal violation of the immigration laws, thus not alerting their cohorts to the larger, on-going investigation.
Of course while I am happy to write about the successes of the ICE personnel as reported in the press releases linked below, I think it is vital to think about how many more such success stories there would be if ICE had an adequate number of special agents and support personnel “in the hunt” for criminal aliens who imperil our nation’s security and the safety of our citizens. We have seen where troop surges have been highly effective in our military efforts overseas and I can assure you that if ever there was a need for a “troop surge” it would be in the Border Patrol and within the ranks of the ICE special agents right here in the United States of America!
In order to combat crime, the criminals not only need to face possibility of being prosecuted for violating our nation’s borders and laws, they need to understand that they face a real probability of being caught, prosecuted and punished appropriately. What Nancy Pelosi refers to as a “Climate of Fear” is what those of us in the law enforcement profession refer to as deterrence! This can only happen if there are an adequate number of “boots on the ground!”
For our government to fail to deploy an adequate number of ICE personnel to combat the threats posed by aliens involved in terrorism, drug trafficking and other crimes is the equivalent of not allowing a baseball team to have its outfielders take to the field when the other team is at bat. Under such an absurd situation, any batter from the opposing team who succeeds in hitting the ball over the infielder’s heads would get an “in the park home run.”
Similarly, without an adequate number of ICE special agents who are provided with necessary resources, any alien, including those engaged in criminal or even terrorist activities simply need to get past the Border Patrol or the inspections process at a port of entry to be virtually “home free!”
This is simply unacceptable!
While I certainly commend that successes achieved by the men and women of ICE as noted in the press releases below, I want to see many more such successes each and every day in every state of our nation. This would require that our government, for once and for all, hire an adequate number of agents for ICE and absolutely mandate that all law enforcement agencies cooperate with ICE. Nothing less than the safety of all who live in our nation is on the line along with the security of our nation.
My goal in writing this and other commentaries is to point out our nations many failings before more victims pay the ultimate price for the incompetence and ineptitude of our government.
The first step in problem-solving is to first identify the problems and vulnerabilities and then devise strategies to overcome them.
Any politician who refuses to work to secure our borders and create an immigration system that has integrity is either corrupt or too dumb to keep his (her) job. Any politician, irrespective of party affiliation who favors Comprehensive Immigration Reform and the outrageous betrayal that this would represent given the national security implications that this program would have, should be shown the door at the next election!
If you find yourself to be in agreement with this commentary, I ask that you forward it to as many of your friends and family members as possible and encourage them to do the same.
Later this year, each and every member of the House of Representatives is up for reelection. Later this year more than one third of the members of the United States Senate will have to face their constituents. They need to be reminded that they work for us, We the People!
However, the practice of good citizenship does not end in the voting booth, it only begins there.
The large scale apathy demonstrated by citizens of this nation has emboldened elected representatives to all but ignore the needs of the average American citizen in a quest for massive campaign funds and the promises of votes to be ostensibly delivered by special interest groups. There is much that we cannot do but there is one thing that We the People absolutely must do- we must stop sitting on the sidelines!
The collective failure of We the People to get involved in make our concerns known to our politicians have nearly made the concerns of the great majority of the citizens of this nation all but irrelevant to the politicians. I implore you to get involved!
If this situation concerns you or especially if it angers you, I ask you to call your Senators and Congressional “Representative. This is not only your right- it is your obligation!
You need to politely but pointedly, demand to know what they are doing to protect our nation. You need to ask them how they are protecting you and your families.
All I ask is that you make it clear to our politicians that we are not as dumb as they hope we are!
We live in a perilous world and in a perilous era. The survival of our nation and the lives of our citizens hang in the balance.
This is neither a Conservative issue, nor is it a Liberal issue- simply stated; this is most certainly an AMERICAN issue!
You are either part of the solution or you are a part of the problem!