ICE Chief: ‘You Want To Prevent Crime? Help Us Get The Criminals’

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Jason Hopkins Immigration and politics reporter
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  • Mathew Albence, the acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, joined President Donald Trump during a Monday speech before the International Association of Chiefs of Police. 
  • Albence ripped local and state governments that choose not to cooperate with ICE, and took particular umbrage with localities that refuse to honor ICE detainer requests. 
  • He stressed that communities are safer when law enforcement agencies work together, and noted the thousands of violent criminals that have been removed thanks to ICE’s work. 

In a speech to law enforcement leaders in Chicago, ICE acting Director Matthew Albence on Monday implored police across the country to reject sanctuary policies and work with federal immigration authorities.

Matthew Albence, the leader of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), joined President Donald Trump on stage at the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference in Chicago. The ICE chief broke down why local and state cooperation with his agency is instrumental in fighting crime.

“Our country, and every community within it, is safer when law enforcement at all levels cooperate,” Albence said Monday before the crowd of law enforcement officials. “There are significant human costs to sanctuary laws and policies which ban agencies from working with ICE, to include even the simple sharing of information about criminals in their custody.”

“Laws and politics like these make us less safe — it’s plain and simple. It is past time to put aside the public rhetoric and listen to the facts, and the fact is people are being hurt and victimized every day because of jurisdictions that refuse to cooperate with ICE,” the acting director continued.

The location of Albence’s speech carried extra significance. Chicago, the third-most populous city in the country, has become vehemently hostile toward the agency in recent years.

Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Immigration at the Capitol Hill in Washington

Witness Matthew Albence, Executive Associate Director Enforcement And Removal Operations U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing entitled “Oversight of Immigration Enforcement and Family Reunification Efforts” on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 31, 2018. REUTERS/Allison Shelley

The surrounding Cook County government refused to honor all 1,162 detainer requests made by ICE last year, according to Trump. In a speech in September, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot went so far as to call the agency “xenophobic” and “racist.” In another example, an internal memo distributed by the Chicago Police Department instructed officers to “leave the scene” if a Homeland Security official is attempting to make an immigration arrest.

Chicago, like many other Democratic-led municipalities across the  country, has take particular issue with ICE detainers — which are requests made to local or state officials, asking them to hold on to an illegal alien in their custody just long enough for an ICE agent to make an apprehension. An illegal alien who is arrested by local police for a DUI, for example, can then be apprehended by ICE while they are incarcerated in a local jail.

Albence said such policies allow criminal illegal aliens to return to the community.

“There will be criminals we don’t find, and often when we do, it’s after they’ve been arrested for another subsequent criminal violation. These are preventable crimes, and even more importantly, preventable victims. How many billions of dollars has law enforcement spent on crime protection and crime prevention? You want to prevent crime? Help us get the criminals out of your communities,” he said.

The agency chief then broke down exactly how many criminals have been taken off the streets thanks to ICE arrests.

ICE agents last year arrested 11,000 individuals with weapons violations and removed them from the U.S., according to Albence. The agency made more than 105,000 criminal alien arrests, and removed over 145,000 criminal aliens — including nearly 6,000 gang members. (RELATED: Trump Administration Extends Temporary Protected Status To Salvadorans Living In The US)

“Find a way to partner with us. For the sake of our communities that we have all sworn to protect, and for the sake of our country,” Albence continued. “The truth of the matter, and one which every person in this room knows, every community and every cop is safer when law enforcement works together.”


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