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Op-Ed

Local 'Sanctuary' Policies Mean ICE Is Facing Serious Counter-Terrorism Challenges

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An audit conducted by the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General found that Immigration and Customs Enforcement is facing a variety of challenges with implementing the Known or Suspected Terrorist Encounter Protocol, a system wherein a myriad of law enforcement and intelligence agencies coordinate to streamline the “protocol for identifying and processing aliens who are known or suspected terrorists.”

ICE is only able to screen immigrants while they are detained and as of June 2017, just 33,701 of 2.4 million — 1.4 percent — of all immigrants actively monitored by ICE and Immigration Enforcement and Removal Operations were currently in custody, and therefore subject to KSTEP screening for connections to known or suspected terrorists.

The issue is exacerbated by fact that “some law enforcement agencies will not honor ICE immigration detainer requests,” thereby preventing ERO from taking custody of criminal aliens for KSTEP screening.

From January 2014 to May 2017, approximately 675 jurisdictions nationwide refused to honor more than 29,269 ICE immigration detainer requests.

When a state or local law enforcement agency declines to transfer custody of a removable criminal alien to ICE, the released alien may put the public and ERO personnel at risk and requires significantly more resources to bring the individual into ICE custody.

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My own state of California denied 11 ICE detainer requests, the majority for immigrants convicted of violent crimes, between January and February 2017, taking the cake for most detainer requests declined, 3,348, between 2015 and 2017.

So-called “sanctuary cities,” having been specifically designed to limit or prohibit immigration authorities, were the worst offenders.

Furthermore, the DHS audit found that in a sampling of 40 case files of detained immigrants identified as known or suspected terrorists, “all had at least one instance of noncompliance with KSTEP policy.”

Noncompliance with KSTEP included failures in appropriate application of background checks or outright failure to utilize them, inadequately confirming or denying aliens as known or suspected terrorists, and failure to appropriately document and report “aliens confirmed as known or suspected terrorists.”

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Then-Sen. Jeff Sessions repeatedly warned former President Barack Obama of critical weaknesses in U.S. interior security. On at least three occasions, the Obama administration refused “to provide details on the immigration histories of terrorists convicted in the United States.”

In a letter obtained by Fox News, Sens. Sessions and Ted Cruz implored Obama to cooperate with immigration authorities.

“(T)hese data make clear that the United States not only lacks the ability to properly screen individuals prior to their arrival, but also that our nation has an unprecedented assimilation problem,” they wrote.

Sessions’ Senate Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest revealed that between September 2001 and December 2014, 580 people were convicted of terrorism in the United States — the vast majority of whom were foreign-born.

Between 2009 and 2014, the United States awarded green cards to approximately 832,000 individuals from Muslim-majority countries, including 3,887 Syrian refugees in 2016 — of whom only 23 were not Muslim, to say nothing of persecuted Syrian Christians in dire need of aid.

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Worries over terrorism are supported by a recent survey conducted by the Center for Security Policy, which showed there are at least 300,000 U.S. Muslims who opined that they should not be subject to the laws of the United States, believing Islamic law (Sharia) should govern their communities in America.

“(N)early a quarter of the Muslims polled believed that, ‘It is legitimate to use violence to punish those who give offense to Islam by, for example, portraying the prophet Mohammed,'” according to the report.

Germany, France and the United Kingdom are all experiencing the same security concerns as the United States over growing concerns of domestic terrorism.

Despite the objections of organizations reliant on identity politics, like the Council on American-Islamic Relations, national security concerns are not rooted in bigotry. Nations have the right to decide who may enter and upon which conditions foreigners remain in good status.

The changing of administrations signaled the end of the narrative in which non-citizen criminality was deliberately obfuscated for progressive political ends.

Pedro Gonzalez is an associate editor for The Millennial Review and the assistant editor of Shield Society. His articles have appeared in the Washington Examiner and The Daily Caller.

The views expressed in this opinion article are those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website. If you are interested in contributing an Op-Ed to The Western Journal, you can learn about our submission guidelines and process here.

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