Over an eight-month period in 2014, more than 8,000 illegal immigrants were released from local jails even though federal immigration authorities had requested they be turned over for deportation proceedings, according to a new Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) report obtained by the Center for Immigration Studies.
From Jan. 1, 2014 to Aug. 31, 2014, local law enforcement agencies refused to comply with a total of 8,811 ICE detainer requests for deportation, instead choosing to set 8,145 illegal aliens free in their respective sanctuary cities. Sixty-three percent of the immigrants freed by local officials had prior criminal records or were identified as a public safety concern at the time of their release, according to the report.
Some 1,867 of those released immigrants went on to re-offend and were later re-arrested 4,298 times for various crimes during the eight-month period. In total, they accumulated 7,491 new charges, including charges related to child sex abuse, rape, possession of dangerous drugs and driving under the influence.
According to the report, at least 276 local jurisdictions in 43 states and the District of Columbia have adopted sanctuary policies and refuse to comply with some or all ICE detainers.
In all, as of June 2015, those jurisdictions had rejected more than 17,000 ICE requests for deportation.
Sanctuary cities have come under scrutiny since a woman was shot to death in San Francisco on July 1 by an illegal Mexican immigrant with multiple felonies and deportations who was released from jail after local officials refused to comply with an ICE deportation request, as HNGN reported.
According to a recent Rasmussen poll, 62 percent of likely U.S. voters said the Justice Department should punish cities that skirt federal immigration laws by refusing to cooperate with federal immigration authorities, while 26 percent opposed such legal action. USA Today reports that as of a few days ago, no sanctuary city had changed its immigrant-detention policies policies.
Sanctuary jurisdictions in California refused the greatest number of ICE detainer requests, according to the new report. The following counties were the largest offenders: Santa Clara County, Los Angeles County, Alameda County and San Diego County. The next largest offending jurisdiction was Miami-Dade County in Florida.
"The Obama administration has given sanctuaries free rein to ignore detainers by ending the successful Secure Communities program and replacing it with the Priority Enforcement Program. This new program explicitly allows local agencies to disregard ICE notifications of deportable aliens in their custody by replacing detainers with 'requests for notification,'" wrote Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies for the Center for Immigration Studies.
"The only truly effective and lasting solution is for Congress to spell out in federal law that local law enforcement agencies must cooperate with ICE by complying with all detainers and responding to all notifications or face sanctions in the form of disqualification from certain kinds of federal funding. Such a provision has been included in the Davis-Oliver Act, introduced by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) and Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), and named in honor of two deputies who were killed last year by a previously deported illegal alien cartel operative in California."