A new report by the Center for Immigration Studies has revealed that more than 8,000 unauthorized immigrants with criminal records, or criminal charges, have been freed by sanctuary cities nationwide. These cities released the illegal aliens despite federal requests that they be turned over for deportation.
The report included 276 sanctuary cities spread throughout the United States, far more than previously thought. Originally, it was believed that there were around 200 sanctuary cities in 43 states.
The arrests took place over an eight-month period from January 1 to August 31, 2014. As of June 2015, the total number of detainers rejected by sanctuary cities has risen to more than 17,000. Detainers used by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are defined in the report:
A detainer is the primary tool used by ICE to take custody of criminal aliens for deportation.
It is a notice to another law enforcement agency that ICE intends to assume custody of an alien, and it includes information on the alien’s previous criminal history, immigration violations, and potential risk to public safety or security.
According to Jessica M. Vaughan, the director of policy studies for the center, many of those immigrants have been rearrested after their arrest — resulting in nearly 7,500 new charges, including child sex abuse. She wrote in the report:
“The Obama administration has given sanctuaries free rein to ignore detainers by ending the successful Secure Communities program and replacing it with the Priority Enforcement Program. This new program explicitly allows local agencies to disregard ICE notifications of deportable aliens in their custody by replacing detainers with ‘requests for notification’.
The only truly effective and lasting solution is for Congress to spell out in federal law that local law enforcement agencies must cooperate with ICE by complying with all detainers or face sanctions in the form of disqualification from certain kinds of federal funding.”
A majority of the unauthorized immigrants — 5,132 of them — had past criminal records. Among those, 2,984 of them had a prior felony conviction or charge and 1,867 offenders were re-arrested.
The jurisdictions that have ignored the most requests from ICE are:
- Santa Clara County, CA;
- Santa Clara County, CA;
- Los Angeles County, CA;
- Alameda County, CA;
- San Diego County, CA; and
- Miami-Dade County, FL.
Sanctuary cities have come under question in recent days following the death of a 31-year-old San Francisco woman by an unauthorized immigrant. Although the immigrant, 45-year-old Francisco Sanchez, had a long rap sheet and previously faced deportation five times, San Francisco chose to ignore ICE’s deportation requests under its sanctuary city policies.