(CNSNews.com) - Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) made more than 105,000 criminal arrests last year and removed more than 145,000 criminal aliens, “to include the arrests of nearly 10,000 gang members and the removal of another 6,000,” acting ICE Director Matt Albence said Thursday.
Speaking to reporters at the White House, Albence warned about the dangers of sanctuary cities, calling it a “public safety matter.”
“We are here today to help the public understand the human cost of sanctuary laws and policies, which ban and prevent local law enforcement agencies from working with ICE to include even the simple sharing of information about criminals already in their custody. Laws and policies like these make us all less safe plain and simple,” he said.
Albence said that 70 percent of ICE arrests are made at local jails and state prisons nationwide, “but we used to make more, and we used to get more criminals off the street before sanctuary laws and policies prevented us from doing so.”
“There’s a lot of misinformation out there with regard to how we do our operations and what is required, so I’m going to give a little bit of information and context to dispel some of those myths and misinformation that’s out there,” the director said.
“One myth is the sanctuary jurisdictions along with many politicians and members of the media continually perpetuate is that ICE doesn’t prioritize its limited enforcement resources. Nothing could be further from the truth,” he said.
Albence said that 90 percent of the people that ICE arrests in the interior of the country “are convicted criminals, individuals who’ve been charged with a criminal violation, are immigration fugitives or are illegal re-entrants, meaning they’ve been through the immigration court process previously, been deported and re-entered illegally, which is a federal felony and one of which we received 7,000 convictions for last year.”
“And immigration fugitives, to be clear as well, are those individuals who’ve had their day in court, have exhausted all forms of due process, have been ordered removed by an immigration judge, and failed to comply with that removal order,” the director said.
“Many sanctuary jurisdictions will also incorrectly assert that they cannot hand over custody of criminal aliens in their jails unless ICE provides an arrest warrant signed by a federal judge. Those that say that are either willfully ignorant or patently disingenuous,” Albence said.
“The truth is that federal law does not provide any mechanism for judicial warrants to be issued for civil immigration violations. There is not a single judge, magistrate anywhere in this country that has a lawful authority to issue a warrant for a civil immigration violation. By statute, Congress has given this authority solely to supervisory immigration officers. This is one of the ways in which our system -- the immigration enforcement system -- differs from the criminal justice system, and it's perfectly lawful,” he said.
Albence said that of the nearly 1,300 arrests made this week, ICE officers arrested “nearly 200 who could’ve been arrested at the jail if the detainer had been honored.”
“Of the criminal aliens we took into custody this week, three had convictions for manslaughter or murder. One hundred had convictions for sexual assault or crimes, with the victims of nearly half of them being children. Seventy had convictions for crimes involving drugs, and more than 320 had convictions for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol,” he said.