On the heels of two successful enforcement actions in Philadelphia and five Midwest states, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced the conclusion of Operation Keep Safe which resulted in the arrest of 156 criminal aliens and immigration violators in Chicago, Ill.
The Chicago metropolitan area includes two of the most egregious sanctuary jurisdictions in the country — the City of Chicago and surrounding Cook County. Furthermore, the Justice Department warned the State of Illinois in November 2017 that it has "laws, policies, and/or practices that violate 8 U.S.C. 1373, a federal statute that promotes information sharing related to immigration enforcement."
Sanctuary jurisdiction policies have led to ICE resorting to large-scale operations to target known criminal aliens for at-large arrests.
This recent operation in the Chicago metro area lasted for six days and spanned throughout 37 communities.
Of the 156 arrests:
- 74 had prior criminal convictions (47 percent);
- 36 had been previously deported and subsequently re-entered the United States; and
- 14 were immigration fugitives previously issued final orders of removal.
The majority of those arrested were citizens of Mexico (125). The remaining 31 came from Guatemala, Poland, El Salvador, Honduras, the Philippines, Ecuador, Jamaica, Jordan, Lithuania, and New Zealand.
Sanctuary jurisdictions may actually expose more aliens to the possibility of an arrest by ICE. Instead of arresting known criminal aliens inside jails, ICE is forced to conduct community operations that sometimes expose other aliens to ICE enforcement and lead to collateral arrests.
The press release reads that "during targeted enforcement operations, ICE officers frequently encounter other aliens illegally present in the United States. These aliens are evaluated on a case-by-case basis, and, when appropriate, they are arrested by ICE officers." Ironically, had Chicago cooperated more fully with ICE, it is likely that many of these collateral arrests would never have occurred in the first case.
Throughout 2018, ICE has targeted localities hostile to immigration enforcement, including widespread operations in fellow sanctuary jurisdictions New York City and New Jersey. As long as local politicians continue to push for dangerous sanctuary policies, ICE will be forced to continue conducting at-large enforcement actions, potentially resulting in many more collateral arrests, rather than narrowly tailored enforcement in jails.