With all the stories we wind up covering which involve illegal aliens being caught, released, and left to roam around, it’s nice to see a report of ICE going out there and getting something done. That was apparently the case in Southern California this week, where agents were rude enough to identify hundreds of illegal immigrants with felony records (including murder), round them up and schedule them to exit the country.
More than 240 people were taken into federal custody last week across Southern California after a four-day sweep for immigrants with criminal records in the country illegally, authorities announced Monday.
The enforcement action ended Thursday with 244 foreign nationals in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement — the majority of them with at least one felony conviction on their record, authorities said.
Since they were being trailed by at least one reporter there seemed to be some cautionary measures in place. I found it interesting that ICE was quick to note that a successful sweep like this should not in any way be interpreted as meaning that there’ some epidemic of crime being committed by illegal aliens. No sir. Perish the thought.
But an ICE spokeswoman cautioned against concluding that crime involving immigrants is up.
“One of the challenges we’re facing is because of state law and local policies, more individuals who are potentially deportable with significant criminal histories are being released onto the street instead of being turned over to ICE,” agency spokeswoman Virginia Kice said. “I think to infer from [the sweep] that potentially foreign nationals are committing more crimes is flawed.”
The curious part about the disclaimer she offered was that while she was insisting that we shouldn’t take this as an indicator of some sort of illegal immigrant crime wave, she was still reaffirming precisely the debate taking place in the presidential campaigns at the moment. If there are that many people with “significant criminal histories” who they would like to get their hands on but they are being “released onto the street” rather than letting ICE pick them up, well… that’s sort of the problem, isn’t it?
Another interesting factoid from the sweep was the data on the nationality of the perpetrators they picked up. Critics of Trump, Cruz and other immigration control advocates have been building a narrative that it’s racist (or whatever “ist”) to single out Mexico because we have people crossing the borders illegally from all over the place. The second part of that statement is true beyond doubt, but that doesn’t mean that the majority of the problem isn’t coming from Mexico. ICE picked up 191 Mexican nationals as opposed to 21 from “other countries.” That’s a pretty significantly weighted sample, wouldn’t you say?
But I get their point. A lot of this clearly depends on what part of the country you’re in. Southern California is bound to be over-represented with Mexicans just from geographic convenience. By contrast, one of the more recent triple homicides in Florida by an illegal was committed by a guy from Belize. Then again, some of them are, such as the guy in Ohio who recently shot several people and attempted to rape a 14 year old girl.
No matter the location, hats off to ICE for this sweep. I doubt it will do much to wake up California’s legislators to the problem they’re facing or rein in the sanctuary cities, but at least it’s a start.