By Joe Guzzardi
August 28, 2015
At last, law enforcement officers have spoken out on behalf of the citizens they’re sworn to protect and against some of the lawless practices of the Obama administration. Earlier this month, Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick pledged to make local cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement the top priority during the next state legislative session. Since the Texas Legislature meets every other year, the next opportunity to end sanctuary cities, Patrick’s goal, will come in 2017.
Joined by four sheriffs, Patrick condemned implementing the Priority Enforcement Program (PEP), the latest procedural change dictated by the White House. PEP will further restrict deportation criteria and put even more criminal aliens back on the streets.
The ill-conceived PEP has replaced Secure Communities, a successful program that Obama, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, and the pro-immigration lobby detested because of its effectiveness. Under Secure Communities, aliens detained on non-immigration charges would have their fingerprints crosschecked against DHS’s database to determine their legal status. But Secure Communities was gradually watered down, first removing traffic violations as a deportable offense, until in 2014, when the program was mandated to be shut down in favor of PEP.
PEP is a step backward, and makes the nation more dangerous. Not only does PEP limit the use of ICE detainers, but only certain convicted felons, offenders with three separate misdemeanor convictions, and some new illegal arrivals will be deportable. Many of those will be exempt if they have family ties or other extenuating circumstances.
In summary, PEP orders ICE officers not to enforce federal law. PEP’s so called priorities exclude large categories of illegal immigrants including those who have already been ordered deported or those who illegally reenter after having been deported, and thereby allows otherwise entirely preventable crimes, including some of the most violent and egregious, to occur.
In his written statement to Johnson, U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest, wrote that immigration enforcement is not a “game of Russian roulette where we release habitual immigration violators into U.S. communities and hope and pray they don’t go on to commit additional criminal offenses.”
Sessions ended his letter with a series of questions for Johnson that many Americans, in light of the Kate Steinle case and dozens of other murders criminal aliens have perpetrated, want answered. Among them:
1) How many aliens currently residing in the U.S. have criminal convictions against them?
2) How many aliens with final orders of removal remain in the U.S?
3) In light of the tragic murders of Steinle and Angelica Martinez (killed in Laredo, TX. by her illegal immigrant husband), is it still the administration’s position that immigration detainers should not be mandatory?
Texas’ illegal immigration problem is acute. Seven Mexican drug cartels operate throughout Texas which has resulted in officer shootings, home invasions, and extortion, all committed by illegal aliens. The GAO found that it costs Harris County, Texas’ largest which includes Houston, more than $30 million per year to police aliens’ criminal activities. Naturally, the failure to enforce immigration law encourages more illegal entry since illegal crossers know they’re unlikely to be deported for nearly any reason.
Lieutenant Governor Patrick insists that, unlike this year, the legislature will have the votes in 2017 to end sanctuary cities, a great relief to fed-up Texans who are already disgusted by dealing with the tens of thousands of criminal aliens the Obama administration has released.
Joe Guzzardi is a Senior Writing Fellow with Californians for Population Stabilization. Contact him at [email protected]