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Horowitz: Time for red states to begin deporting illegal aliens after feds suspend sovereignty laws

Op-ed
John Moore/Getty Images

How do you publish an enforcement report when enforcement has been suspended? Well, that was the predicament in which the Department of Homeland Security found itself last year. Therefore, officials refused to publish the annual ICE enforcement report for nearly five months. Now that they have finally published it, they failed to disclose the most important data. But what we see is so appalling that it violates the entire social contract that the federal government forged with the states – “to insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence.” States have no other option but to pick up the slack.

After delaying the release of the fiscal year 2021 enforcement report for nearly half a year, ICE finally published a scaled-back version last Friday, which essentially shows that enforcement of our sovereignty has ground to a halt. During the entire FY 2021, ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) arrested 74,082 noncitizens in FY 2021 and deported just 59,011. For comparison, there were 267,258 removals in FY 2019 and 185,884 removals in FY 2019.

The numbers are even worse than the top lines indicate. Remember, Trump was still president for the first few months of FY 2021, and Biden didn’t change the enforcement policies until Feb. 18. Just 28,677 of the 59,011 removals took place after Feb. 18. In other words, under Biden, there were just a little over 4,000 deportations a month, down from pre-pandemic levels of over 22,000. Thus, while ICE agents still receive salaries, Biden has essentially fulfilled the woke mission of abolishing ICE without actually firing the agents.

It’s not like there were few fish in the pond to deport. The lowest interior enforcement numbers coincide with the greatest invasion at the border itself. From Oct. 2021 through Feb. 2022, there have been 838,685 encounters, a 111% increase from last year’s record-setting encounters year-to-date. That is an annualized pace of over 2 million illegal aliens, not to mention close to a million others who will escape apprehension.

Every day, the Border Patrol catches murderers, child molesters, and gang members, so all those gotaways are going to include those who pay exorbitant sums to evade the Border Patrol and enter the interior of the country. Once they enter our communities, it is now clear that ICE will never catch up with them. What does that mean for our communities?

Well, guess what was missing from the report? The classic breakdown of criminal offenses by criminal category among those apprehended by ICE per fiscal year. For example, here is the tabulation for FY 2019:

Typically, this is the tally of criminal offenses among those arrested by ICE in a given year, totaling nearly 470,000 in FY 2019. And these numbers would roughly mirror that total every year. Now consider the fact that this year ICE reduced its apprehension numbers. Imagine how many of these people with these rap sheets remain in the country. Well, they did publish the tally for five of the most serious categories: Homicide, 1,506; sex assault, 3,415; assault, 19,549; robbery, 2,717; kidnapping, 1,063.

So even the most serious categories were down dramatically, and not because the pool of criminality is smaller. No wonder they never wanted to report their enforcement numbers and, even in the tardy report, made sure to omit the criminal offense chart.

Also, while ICE did take possessions of criminal aliens this year, what happens next year when the full force of Biden’s policies is in effect? A lot of the arrests this year of the criminal aliens are likely due to the aggressive detainers placed on them during domestic criminal proceedings during the Trump administration. For example, in FY 2019, ERO issued 165,487 detainers on aliens subject to criminal charges or convictions, amounting to more than 56,000 assaults, 14,500 sex crimes, 5,000 robberies, 2,500 homicides, and 2,500 kidnappings. 2,500 homicides! Detainers are the best front-end measure of enforcement. How many detainers were issued on new criminal aliens in FY 2021? We don’t know, because officials declined to publish any information on detainers, but we will likely feel it in our communities in the coming years.

“This report is more significant for what it doesn't cover,” said Jessica Vaughan of the Center for Immigration Studies, who has analyzed these reports for years. “ICE is desperate to conceal how little enforcement there has been.”

Vaughan suspects the numbers are even worse than the report suggests, because there are indications officials are counting border turn-backs and removals in the same data points that are typically reserved for interior enforcement numbers. “They have gone to great lengths to make it hard for people to compare ICE's performance to prior years. They brag about arrests, but they won't say where they happened and whether these people are still in custody. They brag about increasing the percentage of removed aliens who are criminals from 56% to 66%. But in recent years, the number removed from the interior who are criminals has been more like 95%. That means their numbers include many border cases.”

Vaughan concludes that they are “deliberately co-mingling these cases so people can't see how few criminals were removed from our cities and towns, especially compared to prior years — even during the pandemic lockdown year and even under Obama.”

In other words, the message to the world is that once you get into the interior, you are here to stay, even with a horrendous criminal record. This fact is not lost on the cartel smugglers who know they can earn a killing off such a contrived market for human smuggling, so that they can buy more drugs and weapons to operate on both sides of our own border.

Are states going to sit back and take this? At a minimum, they must begin requiring state law enforcement to always check the immigration status of anyone arrested for a crime and publish statistics every month quantifying the number of illegal aliens arrested by criminal offense category. Eventually, Republican governors must work together to fill the vacuum of immigration enforcement left by the federal government. If sanctuary states like New York and California so badly want these criminal aliens, then perhaps states like Florida and Texas should grant them their wish.
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