The Biden administration is pushing for more gun regulations while simultaneously allowing criminal aliens with weapons convictions to run free in our communities. That this is happening is not up for debate, but what is unknown is exactly how many criminal aliens with weapons convictions are benefitting from the Biden administration’s dangerous immigration policies. Despite the administration’s ongoing cover-up of immigration enforcement data from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the data that is available indicates that there has been an approximately 30 percent to 50 percent decrease in arrests of criminal aliens with weapons convictions on their records over the past year. While this estimate is rough, there is no doubt that the Biden administration is actively endangering the lives of residents across the nation.
Listed below are four pieces of evidence illustrating that the Biden administration’s drive to release illegal aliens into the United States is undermining any alleged effort to reduce gun crime. The available evidence suggests that although ICE officers have historically come into contact with criminal aliens with weapons offenses on their records on a regular basis, the officers are less likely to make arrests of these criminal aliens under the Biden administration.
To be clear, a “weapons offense” in the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) offense codes may include the use of weapons other than guns, such as knives. A more precise analysis could be conducted if the Biden administration supported transparency, but there is no doubt a significant percentage of criminal aliens with weapons offense records were involved in gun-related crimes.
1. ICE Agency-Wide End Of Year Report. The Biden administration has refused to publish ICE’s annual Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Enforcement Report despite the fact that it has been published on ICE.gov by December for at least the last decade. The Biden administration’s decision to hide this report from the public is a tacit admission that the administration’s policies are undermining federal law and are dangerous. Despite the hostility toward transparency, some analysis is possible based on data that has been published under the Biden administration, and there’s strong evidence criminal aliens convicted of weapons offenses are being allowed to go free under this administration’s policies.
In the 2017 ERO Enforcement Report, there were 11,173 weapons offenses on the records of aliens ICE arrested. In the 2018 ERO Enforcement Report, there were 11,766 weapons offenses on the records of aliens ICE arrested. In the 2019 ERO Enforcement Report, there were 10,278 weapons offenses on the records of aliens ICE arrested. In the 2020 ERO Enforcement Report, there were 8,114 weapons offenses on the records of aliens ICE arrested. This categorization is based on standard National Crime Information Center (NCIC) crime categories.
Since the Biden administration has kept the 2021 version of this report hidden from Congress and the American people, the best estimate that can be made is based on the number of arrests for a handful of crimes contained in a recent, limited-in-focus, agency-wide ICE report. In this report, the Biden administration points out that “Offenses associated with noncitizens arrested in FY 2021 included 1,506 homicide-related offenses, 3,415 sexual assaults, 19,549 assaults, 2,717 robberies, and 1,063 kidnappings.” These numbers are all down from arrests in these categories in FY 2020. Homicide-related arrests were down 18 percent, sex assault arrests were down 22 percent, assault-related arrests were down 48 percent, robbery-related arrests were down 29 percent, and kidnapping-related arrests were down 35 percent.
Since these are the only crime-specific numbers related to immigration arrests the Biden administration has provided for FY 2021, any estimate on what weapons offense-related arrests might be during that period would be extremely rough. But since these numbers represent an average 30 percent decrease, one could argue that there might be a similar 30 percent decrease in weapons offense-related arrests. The real number could be higher or lower, but taking the 8,114 weapons offense-related arrests in FY 2020 and applying this 30 percent decrease, one could very roughly estimate that only 5,700 weapons offenses were on the records of aliens arrested in FY 2021. Again, about four months of FY 2021 were under the Trump administration, so the number is likely smaller for the period under the Biden administration’s policies.
Obviously, making this rough of an estimate is not what any researcher wants to do, which is why it’s critical for Congress to obtain ICE’s hidden ERO Enforcement Report for FY 2021.
2. Leaked ICE Enforcement Data. In March 2022, staff inside ICE leaked immigration enforcement data to the Washington Times that provided transparency on the number of arrests, deportations, and detainer requests that occurred in FY 2021. The data shows that there were 74,082 arrests of aliens in FY 2021 compared to 103,603 arrests of aliens in FY 2020. This represents a 28.5 percent decrease in arrests. This percentage decrease is consistent with the 30 percent estimate above.
According to ICE data for FY 2020, only 10 percent of aliens arrested that year were without any known criminal history; 90 percent of the aliens arrested had either criminal convictions or pending criminal charges on their records. In contrast, according to the leaked arrest data for FY 2021, nearly 39 percent of aliens arrested that year had no known criminal history on their records. This is very significant because the Biden administration’s justification for its controversial enforcement guidelines, which limit ICE’s ability to make arrests, is that the guidelines would result in a greater number of arrests of dangerous aliens. Clearly, more criminal aliens were arrested under the Trump administration’s guidelines, both in real numbers and as a percentage of all aliens arrested.
This significant change in arrest outcomes undoubtedly has resulted in fewer aliens with gun crime-related convictions being arrested as a result of the Biden administration’s policies.
3. ICE-Sheriff Partnership Data. Another set of data illustrating the fact that the Biden administration is undermining public safety related to gun crime appears on ICE’s webpage for the 287(g) program. This program allows sheriffs to enter into partnerships with ICE and receive training to be able to identify criminal aliens in their jails and then transfer these individuals to ICE custody. These are critical law enforcement partnerships but sheriffs across the nation have reported to the Center for Immigration Studies that the Biden administration has refused to take custody of countless criminal aliens identified through the 287(g) program. The result is that sheriffs are forced to release dangerous criminal aliens back onto the streets. Now, new numbers for FY 2021 reveal that the Biden administration’s immigration policies have resulted in fewer dangerous criminal aliens being taken into ICE custody via 287(g) than in FY 2020.
As previously reported, here’s the language from ICE.gov on the 287(g) program’s results for FY 2020:
In fiscal year (FY) 2020, the 287(g) Program encountered approximately 920 noncitizens convicted for assault, 1,261 convicted for dangerous drugs, 104 convicted for sex offenses/assaults, 377 convicted for obstructing police, 190 convicted for weapon offenses, and 37 convicted for homicide.
Here’s the recently updated language on ICE.gov on the 287(g) program’s results for FY 2021:
In fiscal year (FY) 2021, the 287(g) Program encountered approximately 394 noncitizens convicted for assault, 646 convicted for dangerous drugs, 74 convicted for sex offenses/assaults, 53 convicted for obstructing police, 91 convicted for weapon offenses, and 21 convicted for homicide.
According to ICE’s own data, there was a 52 percent decrease in arrests of aliens convicted for weapons offenses last year. But the numbers are actually much worse than they look because almost four months of FY 2021 were under the Trump administration, when DHS leadership supported the 287(g) program. Even assuming that the distribution of these arrests occurred equally across all 12 months of FY 2021, it would mean that between February 1, 2021, and September 30, 2021, the Biden administration only took custody of 61 aliens convicted for weapons offenses. Likely, these arrests were not equally distributed by month, and if a significant percentage occurred before Biden took office, it would mean his administration took custody of fewer than 61 aliens convicted for weapons offenses.
4. Two 287(g) Partnerships Have Ended Under the Biden Administration. President Biden appointed an opponent of ICE-sheriff partnerships, Kerry Doyle, to the position of principal legal advisor, making her ICE’s top lawyer. In January 2020, a year before her appointment, Doyle testified before a public safety committee of the Massachusetts state legislature and called for the end of 287(g) partnerships, describing ICE as an agency that is “out of control”. Disturbingly, by opposing the 287(g) program Doyle conveyed that she believes it was wrong for Massachusetts sheriffs to transfer to ICE custody illegal aliens who had been arrested for a litany of crimes in the state which — according to reports on ICE.gov — included manslaughter, armed carjacking, armed robbery, aggravated assault and battery, child rape, strangulation of a pregnant woman, assault and battery of a 60+/disabled person, kidnapping, home invasion, burglary, fentanyl trafficking, cocaine trafficking, carrying an unlicensed firearm, credit card and identity fraud, and drunk driving, to name a few crimes.
Within months of Doyle’s appointment, 287(g) agreements with the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office and the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office were ended, meaning these types of criminal aliens are no longer being transferred to ICE custody by these sheriffs through the 287(g) program. The Bristol County partnership was ended by DHS in an unlawful manner that violated the terms of the partnership agreement, and the sheriff of Plymouth County pulled out of the agreement (after fears of harassment from Doyle’s friends in the anti-ICE crowd) with no protest from the Biden administration.
Below are two examples of gun crime-related arrests by the Plymouth County sheriff’s office from ICE’s monthly 287(g) reports highlighting the types of criminal aliens that the Biden administration opposes being transferred to ICE custody for removal:
- On March 5, 2020, the Plymouth County sheriff’s office 287(g) Program encountered a citizen of Jamaica charged with assault and battery/dangerous weapon: firearm, threatening, kidnapping, and intimidation and placed an immigration detainer and warrant on the subject. The subject entered the United States as a visitor.
- On January 20, 2021, the Plymouth County sheriff’s office 287(g) Program encountered a citizen of Cape Verde arrested for carrying a firearm without a license, possession of a large-capacity firearm, possession of ammunition, armed robbery, assault and battery dangerous weapon, and receiving stolen property and placed an immigration detainer and warrant on the subject. The subject last entered the United States as a lawful permanent resident.
Since ICE’s own data shows a dramatic decrease in aliens convicted for weapons offenses identified through the 287(g) program, it’s clear that partnerships across the nation have been effectively canceled. Listed here are 15 instances of firearm-related arrests of criminal aliens through the 287(g) program, as reported on ICE.gov; it is these types of criminal aliens that are not being transferred to ICE custody under the Biden administration at the same rate they were under the Trump administration.
As part of the Biden administration’s ongoing assault on transparency, it stopped publishing monthly reports on ICE’s 287(g) program within the first month of taking control of the executive branch. These reports provided case summary examples of criminal aliens identified through these critical ICE-sheriff partnerships and would have shown the impact of the Biden administration’s anti-law enforcement agenda had they continued to be published. The 287(g) web page contains monthly reports for October 2019 through January 2021. Though they do not comprehensively detail each arrest, they provide an interesting look at the types of criminal aliens that were identified through the program during these months.
Bottom line, if the people making up the Biden administration were truly concerned about gun crime, they wouldn’t be ending 287(g) partnerships between ICE and sheriffs, and they wouldn't be gutting immigration enforcement. President Biden and his political appointees are contributing to gun violence with their reckless policies.