Well, here’s a gambit that can only end well: A North Carolina sheriff has released over a dozen illegal immigrants from jail in order to keep them from being deported by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker, a Democrat sworn in Dec. 3, had promised to end participation in the federal government’s 287(g) program, according to WRAL-TV. That involves transferring prisoners who were believed to be illegally in the country into ICE’s custody.
“At this point, the sheriff is not going to be honoring those requests of detaining individuals from ICE,” legal adviser Rick Brown told WRAL.
The move was made to foster trust between police and Hispanic communities, the station reported. We’ll certainly see how that works out, but that wasn’t the most attention-grabbing move that Sheriff Baker made.
“Just two weeks after Baker was sworn in, 16 people under ICE detainers have been released after either serving their standard time or posting bond,” WRAL reported.
“An additional 79 people remain in custody on state charges, but the sheriff said he will not honor those ICE detainers either.”
So, let’s unpack that. First, as for the individuals who served “their standard time,” I can’t rightly say what they did (or at least were convicted of doing). What I can say is that a) they’re in the country illegally and b) they’ve committed a criminal act.
If we’re going to admit that there’s no reasonable way that we can deport everyone who’s in this country illegally — and I’m sure most people would agree with me on this — we have to prioritize who we’re going to be deporting. First on the list — I would hope most people would agree with me on this — would be criminals.
I can’t be so sure on the second part, however, because a wide swath of liberaldom — including Sheriff Baker, apparently — believe that there’s very little any individual can do in order to merit deportation. Jail? No worries. It’s not like someone who broke the law to get here and then broke the law while they were here would be a threat to break the law again. Is it?
The second batch of individuals might be more troubling: Those who posted bond. Especially after they had a detainer placed on them by ICE, what would be the incentive to show up in court again? Even if they break bond, it’s not like they’re going to be at risk for deportation. After all, that’s not how Sheriff Baker doth roll.
After all, he campaigned as an agent of change.
“No, I’m not concerned about disappointing my supporters… people finally realized that this county needed new leadership inside the sheriff’s office.” — Wake County Sheriff-Elect Gerald Baker https://t.co/PIdP3CTp6k
— Joel Brown (@JoelBrownABC11) November 20, 2018
And make no mistake here: There is a danger involved in these sorts of initiatives.
“When criminal aliens are released from local or state custody, they have the opportunity to reoffend,” ICE notes on its website.
“There are also many risks and uncertainties involved when apprehending dangerous criminal aliens at-large in the community. It takes careful planning and extensive resources to mitigate those risks and make a safe apprehension in a community setting. It is much safer for all involved — the community, law enforcement, and even the criminal alien — if ICE officers take custody in the controlled environment of another law enforcement agency.”
Safety will always come second, however, to good ol’ political correctness.
So, what say ICE officials? Are they leaving Wake County with their tail between their legs? No, not exactly — nor will they be merely maintaining their presence in the area.
“In fact, residents should expect a more visible ICE presence in the Raleigh-Durham area, as ICE will now have no choice but to conduct more at-large arrests in local neighborhoods and at work sites,” the agency said in a statement.
ICE issued a similar statement earlier this month after Mecklenburg County Sheriff Gerry McFadden — whose purview includes the state’s largest city, Charlotte — also decided to end the 287(g) program.
ICE Atlanta Field Office Director Sean Gallagher said the decision “will inevitably result in additional collateral arrests instead of arrests at the jail where enforcement is safer for everyone involved,” according to the Charlotte Observer.
So, while the decision may have scored some political points, the actual impact is going to be a lot different than they might have expected. One can only hope that voters remember that the federal government had to step in to keep them safe when their elected officials refused to.
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