(CNSNews.com) – Vice President Mike Pence visited an ICE field office in Atlanta on Thursday and praised local ICE officials for their making 2,000 criminal arrests last year and seizing 7,000 pounds of narcotics in spite of Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ executive order prohibiting the city’s jail from receiving ICE detainees.
He also recognized the efforts of ICE agents nationwide in making more than 34,000 criminal arrests of illegals in 2018 alone.
“In a time when Immigration and Customs Enforcement has come under criticism by some politicians – not only here in Georgia, but across the country where it’s become fashionable to be critical of the men and women of ICE - it’s important to remember what this agency accomplishes every day for the American people,” Pence said.
“In 2018 alone, ICE agents and officers made more than 34,000 criminal arrests of illegal immigrants in this country, together, removing 3,635 gang members from our streets, over 900 criminals affiliated with MS-13. You seized nearly 10,000 pounds of opioids, 2,700 pounds of fentanyl, and rescued more than 300 victims of human trafficking, including 800 children who were victims of exploitation. That is a record of remarkable success, and the American people are grateful to the people of ICE,” he said.
Pence noted that March represents 16 years since ICE was created.
“It’s remarkable to think that this month marks 16 years since Immigration and Customs Enforcement was created, and every single day since then, the men and women across this country – the 20,000 American patriots - part of this agency have been enforcing our laws and making America safe,” the vice president said.
Atlanta’s ICE field office “is one of the busiest offices in the country,” he said. “Here at Homeland Security Investigations across a three-state region, you face the challenges that come with being in a city and being in a region that is a critical transit point in the life of this nation.
“It’s remarkable to think that over the last two years without any additional personnel, this Atlanta office actually removed nearly 14,000 illegal immigrants from this country,” Pence said.
He said that on Wednesday, “in Riverdale, Georgia, this Atlanta office arrested a Mexican national who is a subject of an Interpol red notice from Mexico on murder charges. Atlanta and Georgia are safer today because of the outstanding work of the men and women of ICE in Georgia.”
“But not to be outdone, Atlanta’s Office of Homeland Security Investigations has truly remarkable record of success – fifth in every category across the country of arrests, indictments, convictions, and seizures,” the vice president said.
“In the last year alone – and I just learned this from Nick – 2,000 criminal arrests [were made] last year, 7,000 pounds of narcotics,” he said. “And in 2016, it was this office in cooperation with all the men and women in this room and some extraordinary law enforcement work at the state and local level, Homeland Security Investigation indicted over 40 individuals, freed 50 young women exploited in what was the largest sex trafficking ring in ICE history.
“That is an extraordinary contribution to the safety and security of this state and of this nation, and you have our thanks,” Pence said.
The vice president also criticized Atlanta’s mayor for saying the country’s immigration policy “intentionally inflicts misery.”
“I heard on my way down here that the mayor of Atlanta recently announced that the city government wouldn’t cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement when it comes to detention of criminal illegal aliens in this city, and … it is amazing to think the mayor actually said that she would in her words ‘not be complicit in an immigration policy that intentionally inflicts misery.’ I would say to the mayor that criminal illegal immigrants, gang members on our streets are what inflict misery,” Pence said.
“The flow of illegal drugs like cocaine and meth and fentanyl inflict misery and wreck our families and communities. Human trafficking inflicts misery. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the men and women who enforce our laws do not inflict misery. They bring safety and security to the people of Atlanta, and they deserve the respect of every elected official in this country,” he said.