The deputy head of U.S. immigration enforcement warned Monday against attempts to cap the ability to detain individuals as a public safety threat that “will lead to disastrous results.”
Democrats have attempted to employ negotiations over funding the government before February 15 to push for a cap on detention beds set aside for interior immigration enforcement.
Nine out of ten U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrests come through the criminal justice system, meaning they have been criminally prosecuted, either convicted or charged with a crime, ICE Deputy Director Matt Albence told reporters in a Monday briefing.
When arrests of individuals who have been previously deported and have illegally re-entered – or who have been through the immigration court process, received final order of removal, and have failed to comply – are added to those criminal aliens, the percentage of total ICE arrests rises from 90 to 92 percent.
“We prioritize limited resources to the best of our ability, but putting an artificial cap on our ability to detain individuals who pose a public safety threat is anathema to public safety in this country and will lead to disastrous results,” said Albence.
In 2019 ICE arrested 138,000 individuals with either a conviction or criminal charges pending. Albence said these individuals accounted for over 540,000 criminal violations. Those individuals may have been responsible for anything from traffic infractions to a “rap sheet a mile long.”
Albence made clear:
Absent criminality, these individuals have broken the law by coming here illegally or coming here legally and overstaying their visas. We cannot have a system whereby immigration enforcement is only effectuated against those individuals once they commit a subsequent crime to their initial immigration violation. You cannot have border security without strong interior enforcement component.
Albence went on to explain the importance of having individuals in custody when they are ordered removed in order to ensure the removal, as well as the danger of ICE agents having to try to apprehend illegal aliens in the field.
The ICE system of estimating how many beds it will need for detainees has been very effective. The current request is for 52,000.