U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced the release of more than 250 criminal aliens following a ruling from the Central District of California.
On Tuesday, ICE issued a press release announcing that more than 250 criminal aliens were released from Adelanto, the largest immigration detention center in California and the frequent target of immigrant activist groups. ICE warns the decision could lead to unnecessary victimization by recidivist criminals.
"While opponents who continuously seek to discredit the agency might otherwise mislead the public to believe that those in detention pose no risk to public safety, nothing could be further from the truth," said ICE’s Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Director Tony H. Pham. "ICE has complied with this overreaching court order; however, the public should know that the ruling undoubtedly places them at greater risk."
Prior to the reduction, ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Los Angeles assessed that among the roughly 730 aliens detained at Adelanto, more than 85 percent had pending criminal charges and/or convictions. Among those ordered released, more than 60 had final orders of removal by federal immigration judges. The criminal histories of those released included, but was not limited to: assault with a deadly weapon, battery, child cruelty, contempt/violating a protected order, domestic violence, disorderly conduct, driving without a license, driving under the influence (DUI), false imprisonment, fraud, hit and run, grand theft, obstructing a police officer, possession of a controlled substance, prostitution, sexual offenses (including lewd/lascivious acts with a child), weapons violations, and the federal offense of illegal reentry after removal.
The agency does not exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement. All those in violation of immigration law may be subject to arrest, detention and, if found removable by final order, removal from the United States. ICE takes many factors into account when targeting and arresting individuals, including their criminal and immigration history.
Safety has consistently remained a top priority for the agency; as such, ICE has imposed strict reporting requirements for those being placed on alternatives to detention (ATD). As an added precautionary measure for communities, no detainee was released until officials established a high degree of certainty that they did not pose a COVID-19 public health risk.
ICE stated that intakes and transfers to Adelanto have already been restricted to protect those in custody. Other measures, such as providing personal protective equipment to all staff and detainees, suspending social visitation, and implementing social distancing practices, have been put in place to protect staff and detainees.