So, you are a local law enforcement officer, and you are releasing a convicted felon from prison after he completes his sentence. You know that 83 percent of released prisoners reoffend within nine years, and therefore, you will likely be dealing with more of his crimes in your jurisdiction. It’s good that foreign criminals are given over to ICE, so we don’t have to deal with their recidivism too, right? Well, not in sanctuary states like Illinois.
A group of sheriffs from the Illinois Sheriffs’ Association announced last week that the Illinois Department of Corrections has stopped cooperating with ICE in transferring convicted criminal aliens to federal custody upon completion of their sentences. These are not detainers on those merely arrested for crimes; these are illegal aliens who have been convicted and served time in prison. Rather than jump at the opportunity to rid themselves of dangerous likely recidivists and focus solely on our own recidivist criminals, they are releasing them onto the streets.
Sheriff Mike Downey of Kankakee County accused the state government of giving the ex-inmates a “head start to evade federal law,” according to the AP. Among those illegal aliens recently transferred to ICE at Pontiac Correctional Facility while the state was still cooperating, according to the sheriff, were 11 convicted of murder or attempted murder, more than four dozen of predatory criminal sexual assault or abuse, including crimes involving children, and 33 of a crime involving a weapon.
Now, people like that will be released, and ICE will have to play whack-a-mole and engage in dangerous street operations to get each one separately.
According to Robert Guadian, director of the Chicago field office for ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations, “Now, about 400 convicted criminals per year — including felons who served time for crimes such as sexually abusing children and homicide — will be released into your community and into mine.”
These are the people most likely to commit more crimes. Just last week, ICE announced that Chicago police had released a career criminal alien in defiance of a detainer. Now that man is accused of sexually assaulting a three-year-old girl in a McDonald’s bathroom.
There was once a time when everyone agreed we should not be on the hook for the recidivism of foreign criminals. Even Obama, as late as 2016, used to say, “Deport felons, not families.”
What is often overlooked in these cases is that there is no set date for criminals being released from prison. Thanks to the ever-growing complex system of multiple good time credits and early release programs, it’s not like ICE can mark a date on a calendar for when an illegal alien sentenced to prison will be released. Federal officials have no idea unless state officials cooperate with them. Why would anyone want to purposely help these people remain in the country undetected?
Yet there seems to be no rush in the Democrat-controlled House or Republican-controlled Senate to hold emergency votes on forcing states to comply with federal law, at least as it pertains to convicted criminal aliens. There has also been no rush to increase funding for ICE, even when Republicans controlled the House.
According to a new DHS inspector general report, “ICE does not have sufficient resources to arrest all at-large aliens, especially in uncooperative jurisdictions that often do not honor detainers and release criminal aliens.” It requires exponentially more resources and time to make at-large arrests of fugitives rather than transferring them in the controlled environment of a jail or prison. The IG found one instance, for example, where ICE had to dispatch “more than 20 officers to arrest three MS-13 gang members in a major metropolitan city” that didn’t honor detainers.
One thing is clear: Congress has the time to legislate every aspect of our lives and the funding for every pet project under the sun. But when it comes to the core federal job of removing foreign criminals from our communities, they are out of time and money.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.