Eighteen GOP state attorneys general urged President Joe Biden in a letter Thursday to reinstate an Immigrations and Customs Enforcement operation targeting illegal immigrant sex offenders.
Last month, ICE officials within the Biden administration mothballed the operation as part of a wider initiative to restrain the immigration agency, The Washington Post reported. The Trump administration implemented Operation Talon during its final weeks in order to combat illegal immigrant sex offenders at-large in the U.S.
Attorney General Erich Schmitt of Missouri warned that “This ill-advised decision threatens to empower sexual predators to victimize women and children in America, and to exacerbate the tragic crisis of sexual assault and sex trafficking among migrant and immigrant communities,” the letter said, Fox News reported. “We urge you to reconsider this decision and restore an aggressive enforcement policy against convicted sexual predators who are unlawfully in the United States.”
ICE arrested 19,752 unlawful immigrants with sex-related convictions from Oct. 2014 to May 2018, according to the letter. The sex-related crimes included child molestation, selling minors into prostitution, sexually assaulting the disabled and elderly, and rape by force of weapon. (Related: Biden And Democrats To Unveil Bill That Would Provide Pathway To Citizenship For 11 Million Illegal Immigrants)
Today, we joined 18 state attorneys general in urging President Biden, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Acting Director Johnson to reverse the Biden Administration’s last-minute cancellation of Operation Talon. pic.twitter.com/UOLF8l147s
— AG Jeff Landry (@AGJeffLandry) February 18, 2021
“The cancellation of this program effectively broadcasts to the world that the United States is now a sanctuary jurisdiction for sexual predators. This message creates a perverse incentive for foreign sexual predators to seek to enter the United States illegally and assault more victims,” the letter said.
Schmitt argues in the letter that the cancellation of Operation Talon will have drastic consequences for migrant communities, particularly when it comes to human trafficking. According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, more than 11,500 cases of human trafficking in migrant communities occurred in 2019, Schmitt said in the letter.
One incident involved a 23-year old Honduran woman who was sexually assaulted by a smuggler helping her cross the border, the letter said.
“We urge you to immediately reinstate Operation Talon, adopt an aggressive enforcement policy against illegal aliens convicted of sex crimes, and send a message to sexual predators that they are not welcome in the United States of America,” the letter concluded.
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