The Border Patrol's new chief said this week that the law enforcement agency won't be turning over illegal aliens accused of crimes if the prosecuting jurisdiction can't guarantee that they'll be given back to federal authorities for deportation afterward.
"My job is to protect the United States and to secure the borders, not to get prosecutions, so we are deporting people that have active warrants because the state will not give back that person to us, and we have to pick: federal law or state law," Rodney Scott said recently at a briefing, as reported Tuesday by the Washington Examiner.
The new chief also said it doesn't matter what kind of crime the illegal alien has been charged with if a jurisdiction won't cooperate with immigration authorities.
"It doesn't really matter the charge," Scott explained, according to the report. "If they will not give confirmation that they are going to return the individual, then we are not going to turn them over. We'll prosecute them federally, then deport them."
Scott, a 27-year veteran of the U.S. Border Patrol, was named chief of the agency in late January. Before that, he headed up the agency's San Diego Sector, which includes 60 miles of land border with Mexico and over 930 miles of coastal border stretching from California to Oregon. The sector also employs over 2,200 uniformed agents, according to its Fiscal Year 2019 report.
In a January statement announcing his selection for the post, acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan called Scott "the absolute embodiment of the U.S. Border Patrol's motto, 'Honor First.'"
Fighting against sanctuary jurisdiction policies throughout the United States has been a key component of the Trump administration's immigration policy since the president took office. For example, earlier this year, Immigration and Customs enforcement called out Cook County, Illinois, in January for releasing 1,070 criminal aliens and immigration violators during Fiscal Year 2019 despite detainer requests.
Last month, acting ICE Director Matthew Albence also slammed sanctuary policies following an inspector general's report that state and local jurisdictions' non-cooperation actions since 2013 had resulted in over 17,000 removable aliens still being at large.