Democrats and their allies in the establishment media have painted a scathing, but deceptive picture of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), depicting the agency as a gang of government-sponsored bullies who sweep into cities rounding up and deporting each and every illegal immigrant they can find. But the truth is that the ICE’s priority is protecting American residents from those who would do them harm.
There are at least 500 sanctuary cities in the United States, and the leadership in these cities are subjecting their residents to danger every day. By refusing to allow local law enforcement to collaborate with ICE, they are making it more difficult for the agency to protect citizens from violence and drug addiction.
While ICE has won some significant victories, their efforts are being stymied by left-leaning officials who value political correctness more than safety.
ICE Issues Warning To Sanctuary Cities
Recently, officials working with ICE explained the perils of hampering their operations. Sanctuary cities are giving illegal aliens who are committing crimes an advantage over law enforcement, explained Todd Michael Lyons, the acting field director for ICE’s Boston office, in an interview with the Boston Herald. “We’re always two steps behind any criminal alien,” he said. “We can assist in making communities safer if the cooperation is there.”
A new ICE report reveals that in the last fiscal year, the agency arrested 158,581 illegal immigrants nationwide. Most of these were criminals who were already wanted by local police. Lyons indicated that many of those who were arrested were previously released by local judges and police who refused to comply with ICE detention orders. Lyons also stated that ICE’s primary focus is apprehending illegal aliens whose crimes involve violence or drugs. “We have to focus on the worst of the worst,” he said. “We’re not trying to round up people at work. We’re targeting the hard core.”
Those who support efforts to remove dangerous criminal aliens typically point to violent crimes committed by individuals who reside in the U.S. illegally. But there are other threats: drug and human trafficking. Mexican cartels smuggle drugs into the country by way of the southern border. By making it harder to capture these individuals, sanctuary cities are making their citizens susceptible to a seemingly endless flow of drugs – including opioids – into their communities.
Progressives’ Weak Justification For Sanctuary Cities
Despite the dangers involved, Democrats have been ardent in their support for sanctuary cities and their opposition to ICE, claiming that the Trump administration’s approach to illegal immigration is both racist and xenophobic. They also argue that sanctuary cities are necessary. According to Ivan Espinoza-Madrigal of the Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights, sanctuary cities actually “contribute to public safety.” He told the Herald that ICE should focus on criminals who are threats to society, but also argued that the agency should not blame sanctuary cities for the presence of those criminals. “There’s a misunderstanding about the role of sanctuary protections at the local level, and what immigration officials are suggesting is simply baseless,” he said.
Of course, he did not explain how sanctuary cities make their residents safer, but he did say that “there are countless stories of hardworking immigrant families who are law abiding and economically productive.”
Others on the left have argued that cities who cooperate with ICE discourage immigrants from reporting crimes because they fear deportation. However, ICE officials have stated on many occasions that their objective is to target dangerous criminal aliens.
Many progressives wish to protect illegal immigrants out of a misguided fixation on multiculturalism. To them, it is more important to import people from different backgrounds than it is to focus on assimilation; it does not matter what values immigrants hold as long as they contribute to racial and cultural diversity. Others on the left see that encouraging illegal immigration offers political benefits and provides electoral advantages to Democratic politicians.
Unfortunately, both groups seem willing to sacrifice the safety of American citizens for their beliefs. Much of the violence and drug crime committed by those who enter the country illegally could be prevented by enforcing our immigration laws and tightening border security. Until the U.S. takes this issue seriously, Americans will continue to be at risk.
This article was originally published at Liberty Nation.