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ICE, ICE, baby – immigration dance continues

ICE detention cell
ICE detention cell
Photo by John Moore/Getty Images

The Department of Homeland Security continues a charade, designed to create an illusion of protecting our borders, while in reality ICE is implementing a “catch and release” program.

A review of internal ICE data for 2013 reveals that hundreds of thousands of deportable aliens were released, under the administration's sweeping "prosecutorial discretion" guidelines. ICE followed through with immigration charges in only one fourth of the cases where potentially deportable aliens were encountered. The failure to proceed with removals of all deportable aliens encountered by ICE was based on the current policies that shield most illegal aliens from enforcement.

Many of the aliens ICE willfully failed to deport were convicted criminals. In 2013, ICE agents released a whopping 68,000 aliens with criminal convictions. These releases were made without formal notice to victims or local law enforcement agencies.

Since the imposition of "prosecutorial discretion" policies in 2011, enforcement activity within the United States declined by 40 percent. The largest decline occurred in the Atlanta field office, which covers Georgia and the Carolinas. The field offices with the worst ratio of encounters to aliens charged with immigration offences are Los Angeles , Buffalo, Chicago and Miami.

ICE reports that more than 870,000 fugitive aliens who have been ordered removed, but ignored those orders and continue to remain in the U.S.

In the mean time, the Obama administration and anti-enforcement activist groups are trying to portray the number of immigration removals as "record-breaking". In reality, these “record-breaking numbers” were borrowed from the Border Patrol and CBP, whose alien removals ICE deceptively reports as their own.

ICE classifies illegal aliens as "criminal" only if they have been convicted of a crime, without any consideration for pending criminal charges. As of 2013, the ICE field offices with the largest ratios of criminal releases are San Antonio, New York City, DC/Virginia, and Newark (N.J.).

The prosecutorial discretion directives issued by ICE headquarters instruct officers to release illegal aliens if the alien is a parent or caregiver, if the alien claims to be in school, if the alien has been in the U.S. for a long time, or if the alien claims to be eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, among other factors.

ICE agents and officers have been instructed to ignore convictions for state crimes, if the conviction occurred under a state law that the administration opposes or thinks is “too harsh”. Some of these illegal aliens have reportedly managed to qualify for DACA, despite convictions for crimes that defrauded the state and federal governments and caused severe problems for the victim of the theft. Some of the illegal aliens benefitting from ICE's failure to enforce the law turn into anti-immigration activists, demanding a halt to deportations.

It’s not a big surprise that releasing illegal aliens who have already been involved in crime (such as rape of a child) usually leads to more crime and more victims. A report commissioned by the House Judiciary committee in 2012 found that 26,000 illegal aliens who were released, instead of being removed, went on to commit another 58,000 crimes soon after release. These additional crimes included 59 murders, 21 attempted murders, more than 4,000 major felonies and other 1,000 other violent crimes.

While the U.S. is rightly concerned about the sovereignty of Ukraine’s borders – what of our own? Instead of increasing surveillance activities against law-abiding American citizens and labeling dissidents and whistleblowers as “terrorists”, the DHS would do well to protect the country from real threats within our own borders.

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