Do we really need to shelter millions of dangerous criminals from other countries?
In fiscal year 2013, the DHS estimated, based on ICE programs in local jails, that there were 1.9 million criminal aliens in this country and that 900,000 aliens were arrested every year. Chillingly, the report noted that “550,000 criminal aliens convicted of crimes exit law enforcement custody every year” and that “this population of criminal aliens poses a major threat to public safety.”
That was before the massive surge of immigration from Central America and the gang and drug crisis engendered by the flow of young males pouring over our border since 2014. Also, that data was from the Secure Communities Program, which matches fingerprints to federal databases, and from information provided by ICE officers working in local jails. Over the past five years, many of the biggest criminal alien cities refuse to cooperate with ICE. Thus, the number of criminal aliens is likely exponentially higher.
Why is it that, amid this monthlong shutdown over immigration, we are not having a discussion on how to deport at least those illegal aliens who commit other crimes as expeditiously as possible and without judicial intervention? How could anyone oppose ridding ourselves of other countries’ criminals when we have so many of our own?
In 2014, when defending his illegal executive amnesty, President Obama touted the need to focus on criminals. “Felons, not families. Criminals, not children. Gang members, not a mom who’s working hard to provide for her kids. We’ll prioritize, just like law enforcement does every day.”
Four years later, why are so few of these people deported and why are the courts permitted to violate our statutes and grant so many reprieves to even the worst criminals who have no right to be here to begin with?
The answer is because Republicans have failed to forcefully educate the public on the severity of the criminal alien problem and have shielded Democrats from taking tough votes on sanctuary cities. For that matter, sanctuary cities haven’t even been a subject of the current debate, and Republicans failed to act on them when they had full control for two years, even as the courts were declaring sanctuary policies. Needless murder and mayhem are continuing because we refuse to deport the criminal aliens we already know about.
The astounding amount of avoidable crime by illegal aliens
What do Connie Koontz, 56, Sophia Renken, 74, Gerald David, 81, and his wife, Sharon David, 80, all have in common? They were American lives cut short between January 10 and January 16 when an illegal alien allegedly broke into their homes in the Carson City/Reno region of Nevada and murdered them. Wilbur Martinez Guzman is an illegal alien who was able to enter thanks to the lack of a defensible barrier at our border. He has now been arrested and is suspected of murdering the four victims. According to the Reno Gazette, he is turning 20 years old. In other words, before last week, he would have been considered the quintessential “dreamer” who came here from Central America sometime after the 2014 wave.
How many more young violent males from other countries are in this country and already have criminal records, yet have still not been apprehended and deported? Think of the hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens arrested every year for DUI, assault, drug trafficking and other offenses that our weak criminal justice system considers low-level. So many of them live in sanctuary cities, where they will not be turned over to ICE. ICE is able to apprehend this many criminal aliens in just one year responsible for the following crimes:
Most of these were convictions! You can imagine how many more were arrested but never convicted and never turned over to ICE. California, the biggest sanctuary of all, is home to one-third of the nation’s illegal immigrants. Thanks to the state’s new bail laws, authorities will immediately release many low- to mid-level offenders without requiring them to post bail. The feds have been trying to ramp up apprehensions on their own, without the state’s cooperation, but they are clearly missing thousands of these criminals.
Why is it too much to ask that we follow the laws and deport foreign criminals? Every day that we fail to immediately deport these two million known criminal aliens is a day that more Americans will be murdered, raped, sexually assaulted, robbed, or killed by a drunk driver. It’s not that these crimes are worse when they are perpetrated by an illegal than by an American. It’s just that they are more preventable and are rooted in the failure of the federal government to protect us from external threats.
Here’s an important point many in the media miss about the number of illegal alien homicides and how avoidable they are. Basic criminology teaches that most murderers first build up a prior rap sheet before committing the ultimate offense. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), 70 percent of violent felons from 1990 to 2002 had a prior arrest record, and 57 percent had at least one prior arrest for a felony. In other words, murderers are generally those who have repeat histories of DUI, burglary, weapons charges, drug trafficking, gang activities, etc. Those crimes are particularly prevalent among illegal aliens, yet are treated as low-level, and they are often released. Only a relatively small percentage of them are deported; many more aren’t even detected or tracked by ICE.
Illegal aliens should be immediately deported upon arrest. Thus they should never be allowed to remain in this country long enough to continue their criminal careers and graduate to violent felonies. Not all murderers have prior records, especially the very young ones, as we saw in the Nevada case, but most do. That means, by definition, most violent crimes committed by illegal aliens are not only avoidable because they should never have been in the country in the first place, but also because they should have been deported after their first arrest for other crimes.
According to BJS, 83.4 percent of all prisoners released in 2005 re-offended within nine years, and 40 percent of the new offenses were violent crime. We deported 5.6 million illegal aliens between 1998 and 2016. ICE reports from most years show that the majority of them (recently, the overwhelming majority) had prior criminal convictions.
The symbiotic importance of border and interior enforcement
The importance of deportation and the need to keep out criminals also ties back into the debate over the wall at the border. Many of these criminals, even the ones we wind up deporting, come right back over the border, smuggled in by the cartels. I’m particularly skeptical about the efficacy of the wall in stopping the general migration if we continue to allow this bogus asylum, because they will just come over the fence and surrender themselves to the agents. But there is no doubt that the wall will always work, other policies notwithstanding, against criminal aliens, because they do not want to see a border agent.
Matt Pinsker, former federal special prosecutor on the border, explained the problem of criminal aliens and an open border best in an interview with Townhall. He recounted how, as a young prosecutor, he was “struck” by “just how many persons illegally entering the United States have criminal records. … They enter illegally because they cannot enter legally, and the reason why they cannot enter legally is because they have criminal records.”
They are able to get the cartels to smuggle them in while the border agents are tied up with the hundreds of bogus asylum seekers. The wall will definitely help slow down those who don’t want to get caught.
Just this week, Hector Montez, a Honduran illegal was arrested for raping and impregnating a minor in Kings County, California, after being deported twice before. In another part of the state, Macario Cerda, an illegal alien from Mexico, was just sentenced on numerous rape and child sexual assault charges, including impregnating one of his victims. He was able to come back into the country and commit all these crimes after being deported. The prosecutor argued that he should be locked up for life and “never grant him any possibility at being deported because he has crawled his way back into the States illegally way too many times.”
I totally agree with that sentiment in this particular case, but the ultimate goal should be to deport all these people once arrested for lesser crimes to prevent bigger ones. At the same time, we need the wall so that they can’t come back once they are deported. The problem of criminal aliens sits at the nexus of border and interior enforcement and demonstrates why we need to focus on both of them with full force. Many terrible people are able to continue committing heinous crimes because we refuse to either deport them, secure our border, or both.
Trump had the perfect opportunity to harness the biggest bully pulpit of all time with a unique State of the Union address next week from an unannounced location. He could have looked the American people in the eye and promised to be the president to finally protect America from the millions of foreign criminals who should never be in the country. Now we may have to wait until it’s too late.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.