The White House announced its tally of criminal aliens deported since President Donald Trump issued a series of executive orders aimed at stepping up their arrest and deportation.
The announcement adds the 188 arrests U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) made in the Los Angeles area over the last week to a running total of over 30,000 criminal aliens taken into custody in the 100 days since President Trump’s flurry of immigration executive orders came into effect. According to ICE, 169 of those caught in this latest operation had previous criminal convictions, only three of which were immigration related.
ICE itself touted its totals last week, claiming its Enforcement and Removal Operations division has made over 40,000 administrative arrests for immigration violations during the 100 day period, over 30,000 of whom were already convicted of other crimes. The numbers, according to ICE, represent a 20% increase over the same period last year.
The administration is characterizing these numbers as “fulfill[ing] the President’s promise to keep our communities safe.” The White House supported this claim with examples of those seized in ICE operations this year, including hardened repeat offenders from gangs like MS-13 caught in last month;s Operation Community Shield against gang members that yielded 1,378 arrests. Notably, ICE confirmed that some of those gang members caught in the round-up had been allowed to remain in the United States under the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) executive order.
The administration has made breaking up these “transnational criminal organizations,” many of whose members are illegal aliens, a priority in its law enforcement strategy. MS-13 in particular has become known for exploiting weaknesses in American immigration enforcement to bolster its ranks, including through the use of DACA.
The White House announcement devoted its final portion to the conviction of a particularly heinous illegal alien offender. Arrested by ICE last year, Guatemalan illegal Edwin Velasquez-Curuchiche was sentenced to 50 years in federal prison on child porn charges. Curuchiche snuck into the home of six-year old girl multiple times, sometime hiding under her bed. He would emerge as the girl slept and film himself molesting her. Curuchiche, like thousands of others illegally in the United States, had already been apprehended at the border but was released in 2013, failing to show up to his immigration hearing.
Plugging the holes in our immigration system that allow so many to remain in the country illegally is the subject of several initiatives of the young administration. Monday’s budget request, for example, asks for funds to make good on Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s promise to dramatically expand the ranks of the Executive Office of Immigration Review’s (EOIR) immigration judge corps. A massive backlog of over half a million administrative immigration cases is seriously limiting the government’s ability to remove those illegally in the country.
The Obama-appointed director and deputy director of EOIR, Juan Osuna and Ana Kocur respectively, both resigned Friday morning for unclear reasons. Attorney General Sessions announced his pick for an acting director in Osuna’s position in the afternoon: James McHenry, a former administrative law judge at EOIR.