Public Safety Not Partisan Politics
Over recent months, Congressional Democrats have played politics with a humanitarian and national security crisis. Instead of seeking constructive dialogue to solve the problems at our southern border, the Left have used the situation to attack President Trump. This failure to work with Republicans has escalated recently into complete disregard for the rule of law and those who protect and serve.
In order to address the problem, we must understand how it arose. The Obama catch-and-release policy, which allowed criminals to be freed from detention while they are involved in removal proceedings, gave notice to all potential illegal aliens that kids would provide get-out-of-jail-free cards. After being released from custody - the large majority disappear throughout our county and never return to court, unless they are arrested again for committing another crime.
Making matters worse were the numerous state and local jurisdictions that, in contravention of federal law, provided sanctuary to criminal illegals despite the fact that it has been settled since 1819 that a state cannot actively undermine the execution of federal law or discriminate against the federal government.
These two factors played critical roles in establishing the chaos that President Trump and Attorney General Sessions inherited. In keeping with campaign promises to enforce our Nation’s immigration laws, the Trump Administration directed the United States Attorneys along our border to adopt a zero-tolerance policy for all criminal offenses referred for illegal entry and reentry.
While the media may proclaim this as controversial, federal law is clear: illegal aliens caught are to be “expeditiously removed” from our country. Enforcing immigration law may not be politically prudent, but it is the right thing to do. Not only does it reduce the strain on our limited Border Patrol resources, but it also discourages potential border crossers.
Despite the Left’s hysteria, President Trump has actually done what he legally can to avoid the separation of illegal alien families. While he clearly wants to do more for them – his hands have been tied by Congressional inaction, the provisions of the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008, and the Flores settlement agreement.
But instead of supporting the DOJ’s efforts to amend the Flores settlement agreement or introducing bills to address the problem, Congressional Democrats have called for the abolishment of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). You read that correctly: the Left wants to do away with an agency that, in just the 2017 fiscal year, arrested more than 127,000 illegal aliens with criminal charges or convictions and seized almost 1 million pounds of narcotics – including thousands of pounds of the deadly drugs fueling our opioid crisis.
In their pursuit of open borders – the Left wants to eliminate a government agency that goes after those who have participated in war crimes, genocide, torture, or violations of religious freedoms. In fact: it was ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations section that led the investigation and ultimate conviction of Chucky Taylor, son of former Liberian President Charles Taylor, who used torture and committed numerous war crimes to keep his father in power. This ICE special unit has done tremendous work in removing some of the world’s most notorious human rights violators and apprehending thousands of the world’s most dangerous gang members.
Additionally, ICE’s Child Exploitation Investigations Unit has targeted and detained thousands of predators who produce and distribute child pornography and engage in child sex trafficking. What’s more: ICE’s Bulk Cash Smuggling Center has halted smuggling activities around the world and its Foreign Corruption Investigations division has gone after foreign officials who seek to use the American financial system to steal from their government coffers.
Both the President's efforts to secure our borders and ICE's work to apprehend criminals are critical to our Nation's public safety. So the next time you hear a Congressional Democrat trash the President’s immigration policy or call for the end of ICE, dismiss it for what it is: irresponsible politics.
By Attorney General Jeff Landry