ICE recently announced the identification and arrest of 197 illegal aliens throughout the Washington, D.C., area and New York City in two separate enforcement operations. Both operations targeted known criminal aliens. Many of those arrested had been previously released by sanctuary jurisdictions that ignored detainer notices from ICE. Both operations ended on July 20.
Operation Cross Check lasted five days and netted a total of 65 individuals. Incredibly, 64 of the 65 individuals had been previously removed from the country and subsequently re-entered, a felony under U.S. law. One of the individuals had been removed six separate times and had quite a rap sheet, including convictions for identity theft, driving while intoxicated, and larceny.
The ICE announcement for Operation Cross Check in New York made a point that 29 of the aliens were previously released from local jails despite the detainer notices sent by ICE. New York is a known sanctuary city, and with the country's highest concentration of illegal aliens, its sanctuary policies go a long way toward shielding criminals from removal.
Operation Cross Check's press release ends with a firm statement exhibiting ICE's commitment to enforcing federal immigration law in every community, regardless of local sanctuary policies:
Ultimately, efforts by local NYC politicians have shielded removable criminal aliens from immigration enforcement and created another magnet for more illegal immigration, all at the expense of the safety and security of the very people it purports to protect. Despite the severe challenges that local policies have created for ICE, we remain committed to our public safety mission and we will continue to do our sworn duty to seek out dangerous criminal aliens and other immigration violators. ICE seeks straightforward cooperation with all local law enforcement and elected officials.
Operation Eagle's Shield was a longer operation, spanning from July 9 to July 20, targeting threats to public safety in Northern Virginia and Washington. The region has notably experienced some of the worst MS-13 violence in the eastern United States.
The crimes of those arrested in the capital region are particularly odious. In addition to the arrests of MS-13 and 18th Street gang members, ICE arrested a Bolivian man with four prior convictions for rape of a minor. ICE also arrested a Honduran man with multiple counts of felony rape and sodomy, and a Guatemalan man previously convicted for rape of a child.
The press release notes that Operation Eagle's Shield made extensive use of the Secure Communities program. Secure Communities uses an already-existing federal information-sharing partnership between ICE and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that helps to identify criminal aliens without imposing new or additional requirements on state and local law enforcement.
Both enforcement actions display ICE's continued commitment to identifying and removing dangerous criminal aliens. Indeed, the majority of individuals arrested by ICE are criminals, despite media hysterics to the contrary. These operations are the best indicator of the role that ICE plays in promoting public safety.