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ICE Deploys New Weapon Against Dangerous Sanctuary Laws

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
Courtesy of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

It would seem that protecting America from crime, disease, and lawlessness is an idea most people could support. In our hyper-polarized, decidedly irrational world, however, that is not the case.


Grandstanding politicians openly defy federal immigration laws, while activist judges give them cover by thwarting attempts to restore order. It’s enough to make people ask, when will the law be applied for the good of the American people and the country?

To those who ask the above question, here’s some good news: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is utilizing new legal tactics to combat the dangerous effects of illegal immigration, and they’re working.

Normally, ICE would issue a detainer request to local law enforcement, asking for information on the alleged criminal. ICE would often take custody of the person in the jail facility, which is the safest way to handle such an exchange. This process has led to the removal of untold numbers of violent criminal aliens from communities, and often, the country via deportation.

“Sanctuary” laws are now used in cities, counties and states to prevent ICE from taking custody of criminal aliens after they are released from jail on bond. Local law enforcement personnel are forbidden from honoring detainer requests or even allowing ICE agents into jail facilities and courtrooms.

This forces ICE to take the far more dangerous route of attempting to arrest aliens in their homes or places of work. If ICE has no information on the person’s home or work address, and local police refuse to share those details, the trail can go cold and the suspect can melt back into society. Meanwhile, there is an ever-growing number of people who have been victimized or killed by aliens who should have been deported, but were allowed to stay and commit crimes because they were shielded by sanctuary laws.


Faced with this opposition, ICE is resorting to more creative ways to remove dangerous aliens from the country. The agency reported that it recently arrested Hector Manuel Bautista-Cardenas, a Mexican national who was being held in San Diego, Calif., on felony charges for false imprisonment with violence and a misdemeanor charge of domestic violence.

California has some of the most radical sanctuary laws in the country. When ICE issued a detainer request on Bautista-Cardenas, it was predictably not honored by the San Diego Sheriff’s Office (SDSO). ICE then served an immigration subpoena to SDSO, and they honored it by providing all information requested. Officers with ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) arrested Bautista-Cardenas on March 3 without incident at his home, where he went after being released by SDSO.

Why such a different result? Detainer requests, while issued by a federal agency, are essentially requests made out of professional courtesy. Immigration subpoenas, however, are a different animal. They require a judge’s signature, and failure to comply with them can result in being held in contempt, fines or jail time.

Immigration subpoenas do not provide the higher safety of a jail transfer, but they have proven effective at removing dangerous criminal aliens from communities. The fact that ICE must utilize such alternative measures illustrates the threat to citizens caused by sanctuary laws and the elected leaders who advocate for them.


“The public needs to be aware and concerned that California sanctuary state laws do not protect public safety and is bad public policy,” said Gregory Archambeault, San Diego Field Office Director for ICE’s ERO in San Diego. “Criminal aliens are being released back into the community daily and most will re-offend resulting in more victims.”

Despite what many in politics and the media would have us believe, those apprehended and deported by ICE are not hard-working single mothers and high school valedictorians. They are menaces to society like Reeaz Khan, charged with raping and killing a 92-year-old woman on a sidewalk in Queens, NY Or Francisco Carranza-Ramirez, who served nine months in prison for raping a wheelchair-bound woman in Seattle. After sanctuary laws protected him from arrest by ICE, he dumped the same woman out of her wheelchair and assaulted her in front of her 3-year-old son.   

Backers of sanctuary laws may congratulate themselves for their perceived commitment to a more welcoming community, but the reality is that such laws allow sociopaths like Khan and Carranza-Ramirez to live among us. ICE has been widely demonized in popular culture. They should be lauded for doing a dangerous and necessary job that allows us to live in safety.


Dale L. Wilcox is executive director and general counsel at theImmigration Reform Law Institutea public interest law firm working to defend the rights and interests of the American people from the negative effects of illegal migration

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