ICE Director: Single California Judge Cripples Enforcement in 43 States

In this March 30, 2012 photo, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents take a suspect into custody as part of a nationwide immigration sweep in Chula Vista, Calif. Federal officials say they arrested more than 3,100 immigrants convicted of serious crimes and fugitives in a six-day nationwide sweep. Officials at …
AP/Gregory Bull

A California judge is crippling the nation’s immigration enforcement system, amid the myriad examples of murders and crimes committed by illegal migrants, ICE director Matt Albence said at a White House press conference.

Immigration enforcement is “being singled out and marginalized in ways that no other federal law enforcement organization has to tolerate,” he said. “Tying our hands from the bench does not make our country any safer.”

“We will continue to put our lives on the line to protect the American public, despite the best efforts of those who like to see no enforcement or open borders,” he said.

The judge’s action was prompted by an ACLU lawsuit, which argued that some U.S. citizens were being misidentified as migrants by police databases. The judge announced September 27 he would end ICE’s authority to detain individuals — including illegals who are arrested and held in state or county jails — when arrests are based solely on evidence in databases. Once arrested, migrants are not deported until a judge orders their deportation.

The California judge is André Birotte Jr. He is the son of Haitian immigrants and was nominated by President Barack Obama. His ruling applies just to actions in Southern California, but that is where ICE has one of its major data centers, the Pacific Enforcement Response Center, in Laguna Niguel, California.

Pro-migration groups rejoiced at their success:

The PERC issues detainers 24-hours a day within California and after-hours to 41 other states. The ruling means that ICE may not issue any detainer request from the PERC to any state that does not expressly authorize local law enforcement to make immigration arrests in state law, and it may not issue a detainer without something more than database information to support a probable cause determination.

Albence described the problem:

This decision issued by a single judge in Los Angeles will impact at least 43 states, threatening communities far beyond the one in which this judge [sits]. I wish I could say this is an isolated occurrence, it is but the latest example of judicial overreach targeting immigration enforcement and the application of laws already passed by Congress, often decades ago.

The Department of Justice may ask the Supreme Court to suspend the judge’s decision.

Albence slammed the progressives’ massive resistance to immigration laws:

This decision will threaten public safety, as it will lead to the release of criminal aliens back onto the street – criminals that we won’t find before they hurt. Or worse, more innocent victims that could have been spared their pain and suffering. If only ICE had been allowed to do its job …

Time and again, DHS has been prevented from exercising the authority granted to it by Congress, because of the decisions of unelected judges who substitute their judgment for that of our legislators, or the government officials and trusted with enforcing our laws.

“A recent case, in a litany of tragic, tragic examples, clearly illustrates this danger,” Albence said:

Carlos Daniel Carillo-Lopez entered this country illegally as an unaccompanied alien child in 2015 [from Guatemala]. He was arrested no less than four times in the past seven months in the state of Washington for charges including criminal trespass, theft, malicious mischief, and failure to appear. Each time ICE lodged a detainer [request to local jails]. Each time the detaining entities — [which are] proud sanctuary jurisdictions — release him without notifying ICE [in time for ICE to arrest the illegal].Tragically, on September 30th, 2019, he was arrested for homicide. His victim [was] another young man.

Albence said:

ICE made approximately 140,000 arrests this year [and] about 75 percent of those arrests came from working with the jails and prisons. The other 25 percent are made by ICE at-large teams. It is critically important work. But it takes a lot more time and resources to make those arrests and a much greater risk to our officers, the public, and the subjects themselves. And we could have apprehended those criminal aliens from the safe confines of a jail upon their release.

Pro-migration groups jeered at Albence’s plea for enforcement of the law. NDLON, a group which represents illegal migrants, declared:

The eerie retrograde racism on display from the White House podium this morning makes a case for – rather than against – sanctuary cities…  The Trump Administration is a threat to local public safety.  This is a fact.  And no amount of Mexican-bashing, Central American-bashing, or Muslim-bashing will change the truth that recently arrived immigrants – documented and undocumented – are now taking the historical baton and defending bedrock constitutional values for everyone.

“The oath of office taken by the men and women of ICE means something to us, which is why we will adapt like we always do, why we will persevere like we always do,” Albence said. He added:

We will continue to put our lives on the line to protect the American public despite the best efforts of those who like to see no enforcement or open borders. But make no mistake, rulings from any individual federal court, sitting in a single judicial district purporting to cripple ice authorities on a nationwide basis puts people at risk, innocent victims whose lives will be forever changed for the worse, all across our great country. And we could have stopped it.

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