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The $2 trillion spending package to boost the economy in response to the coronavirus crisis includes a $350 million pot of money for “Migration and Refugee Assistance” — the latest item in the legislative behemoth that is angering critics.

While a number of items that Republicans objected to got trimmed in the final Senate bill, the Migrant and Refugee Assistance item actually increased by $50 million to $350 million. That’s more than the bill put forward by House Democrats earlier this week, which included $300 million in “Migrant and Refugee Assistance” for the State Department.

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla, called it a “poison pill” that put “America LAST.”

“Democrats: This is not the time to advance your legislative agenda,” he tweeted before the bill passed the Senate late Wednesday. “This is the time to put #AmericaFirst.’

The bill ultimately passed the Senate 96-0 and is expected to pass the House in a voice vote on Friday. It includes a number of measures to boost businesses and help individuals hurt by the economic downturn triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.

But it includes controversial items, such as $25 million in funding for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

The Senate bill also provides $75 million to each the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. That is down from the $300 million for each that was in the House stimulus bill.

Fox News’ Tyler Olson contributed to this report.

Author: Adam Shaw

Source: Fox News: Coronavirus bill includes $350 million for migration, refugee assistance

President Trump on Wednesday announced that the U.S. and Canada are temporarily closing their shared border to non-essential traffic as part of the effort to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

“We will be, by mutual consent, temporarily closing our Northern Border with Canada to non-essential traffic,” Trump tweeted. “Trade will not be affected. Details to follow!”

As of Wednesday morning, there were 6,519 cases and 114 deaths in the United States. Canada, meanwhile, has recorded 598 cases of coronavirus and has so far had eight fatalities nationwide.

The move comes as countries across the globe shut down their borders in order to combat the virus that has brought daily life to a standstill. Trump on Saturday added the U.K. and Ireland to a 30-day European travel ban, while Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday previously had closed Canada’s borders to all foreign nationals except U.S. citizens and permanent residents.

Trudeau said the exemption for Americans at the time was due to “the level of integration of our two economies.”

Canada relies on the U.S. for 75 percent of its exports. Much of Canada’s food supply comes from or via the U.S., and 98 percent of its oil exports go to the U.S. About 18 percent of American exports go to Canada.

Trudeau is currently in self-quarantine after his wife Sophie tested positive for the virus.

Future plans for the southern U.S. border remain in development.

Fox News learned Tuesday that the Department of Homeland Security is considering a plan that would turn away asylum seekers and anyone who has crossed the southern border illegally. The idea is currently being developed by DHS staff, but there is still more work to do before it’s presented to Trump for a final decision.

“President Trump is 100 percent committed to protecting the American people from coronavirus and all options are in the table,” a DHS spokesperson told Fox News.

Fox News’ Jon Decker, John Roberts and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Author: Adam Shaw

Source: Fox News: Trump announces US, Canada closing border to ‘non-essential traffic’ amid coronavirus fears

Republicans in the House and the Senate are introducing legislation that would block federal funds from states that allow illegal immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses — the latest move in an escalating fight over “sanctuary” laws.

The Stop Greenlighting Driver Licenses for Illegal Immigrants Act would block funds to sanctuary states — which limit local cooperation with federal immigration authorities — and those that give licenses to illegal immigrants. Specifically, it would halt Justice Department (DOJ) grants, in particular those awarded under the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant, which is a top source of federal criminal justice funding for states.

The legislation is being introduced in the Senate by Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn. It is being co-sponsored by Sens. Tom Cotton, R-Ark.; Kevin Cramer, R-N.D.; Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va.; Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga.; Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, and Mike Rounds, R-S.D. Meanwhile, in the House, Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., is introducing companion legislation. That bill is co-sponsored by 21 other members.

“Tennesseans know all too well what can happen when illegal immigrants are granted driver licenses,” Blackburn said in a statement. “While Tennessee and many other states prohibit driver licenses for illegal aliens, a growing number of states are moving in the opposite direction and unleashing dangerous open borders policies. Immigrants must follow the proper federal process and obtain citizenship or lawful status before obtaining a state driver license.”

“In America, no one is above the law,” she added.

Her office estimates that states that issued licenses to illegal immigrants received nearly $53 million from the program in fiscal year 2019.

The bicameral legislation comes amid a growing fight over sanctuary legislation. The Trump administration has been attempting to highlight attention to the dangers of the policy and has been shining light on cases whereby illegal immigrants have killed Americans.

“The United States of America should be a sanctuary for law-abiding Americans, not criminal aliens,” Trump said at his State of the Union address last week.

The administration has also been caught up in a fight with New York over its “Green Light Law” that both gives driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants and bans state Department of Motor Vehicles agencies from sharing information with federal immigration authorities.

The latter move led the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) last week to announce that it is suspending Global Entry and other Trusted Traveler Programs for New York residents, saying that the law makes DHS agencies unable to run the necessary security checks and risk assessments.

Author: Adam Shaw

Source: Fox News: Republicans introduce bill to pull funds from states that give driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants

The Trump administration has started returning Mexican migrants deep into the country’s interior as part of an expanding effort to deter illegal immigration and combat the ongoing crisis at the border.

The Department of Homeland Security started running flights from Tucson, Ariz., to Guadalajara in December. Officials say the migrants being returned are all Mexican nationals from non-border Mexican states who typically have either recently illegally entered the U.S., or who had gone through the court system but were ruled to be deportable by an immigration judge.

The Trump administration has started returning Mexican migrants deep into the country’s interior as part of an expanding effort to deter illegal immigration and combat the ongoing crisis at the border.

The Department of Homeland Security started running flights from Tucson, Ariz., to Guadalajara in December. Officials say the migrants being returned are all Mexican nationals from non-border Mexican states who typically have either recently illegally entered the U.S., or who had gone through the court system but were ruled to be deportable by an immigration judge.

Mexican migrants are returned to the Mexican interior. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection photo by Jerry Glaser)

The plan marks a departure from past practice of releasing migrants at the border. The idea would be to make it harder for repeat offenders to try and cross the border again if they are returned hundreds of miles away. Officials say returning people closer to their hometowns is better for them as well, and allows them to receive services from the Mexican government.

DHS says it plans to run two flights a week starting at the end of January and expects to return about 250 migrants a week. Officials say the move has been requested by the Mexican government, with which the U.S. has been working for months to stem the border crisis — which peaked in May but still concerns officials.

The policy represents the latest change to come out of an intense effort by the Trump administration to bring in regional partners on the issue.

“This is another example of the Trump Administration working with the Government of Mexico to address the ongoing border security crisis,” DHS spokeswoman Heather Swift told Fox News. “Mexico has been a great partner in stopping illegal migration before they reach our border and in standing up the Migrant Protection Protocol which has allowed us to provide court dates to more than 55,000 individuals.”

The Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), also known as the “Remain-in-Mexico” policy, sees migrants (from all countries south of the border) returned to Mexico to await their immigration hearings — ending the practice of “catch-and-release” where immigrants were released into the U.S. interior to await their hearings.

The policy was expanded over the summer and was strengthened at Tucson and Del Rio sectors in recent months. Those being flown into the Mexican interior are not part of the MPP program.

Mexican migrants are returned to the Mexican interior. (DHS)

“Remain-in-Mexico” has proven controversial with human rights and pro-migrant activists, who claim it can place migrants in significant danger of kidnapping or violence by returning them to the Mexican side of the border. The program is facing a legal challenge at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. A ruling is expected soon.

Mexican migrants are returned to the Mexican interior. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection photo by Jerry Glaser)

That regional cooperation has also produced agreements with Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. The agreement with Guatemala sees migrants flown into that country to claim asylum there. Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf on Friday said that so far 96 migrants have been flown into Guatemala, but that only one individual eventually chose to claim asylum.

Those agreements have fueled a dramatic drop in apprehensions at the border by more than 70 percent since May. In December, law enforcement apprehended or turned away 40,620 at the border, the seventh month of decline since the more than 144,000 encountered in May.

Author: Adam Shaw

Source: Fox News: Trump administration starts returning migrants deep into Mexico to combat border crisis

The Trump administration on Thursday announced that it has started to send migrants to Guatemala as part of its “safe third country” agreement with the Central American nation — a boost for the administration’s effort to enlist other countries’ help dealing with the migrant crisis.

An initial flight landed in Guatemala Thursday morning. The move is part of a “phased-in” approach to sending migrants mainly from Honduras and El Salvador to the Central American country, having established that its asylum policies meet the criteria of having a “full and fair” asylum system.

The agreement, negotiated earlier this year, is part of a series of regional agreements with countries including Mexico and El Salvador.

“We continue to work on asylum agreement implementation plans with all three Central American countries,” acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf said in a statement to Fox News.

“For Guatemala specifically, we have begun a phased-in implementation approach, which includes sending an initial flight,” he said. “[The Department of Homeland Security], alongside the State Department, will continue to work with the Government of Guatemala and international organizations as we expand the program in the weeks and months ahead.”

DHS would not confirm operational details on how many migrants were on the plane, but a DHS official told Fox News that being moved to Guatemala was an option for migrants and that no one would be sent to the country against their will.

Migrants who are seeking asylum at the southern border will be given the option to be sent to Guatemala, sent back to their home country, or to enter the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) and wait in Mexico.

Migrant rights and humanitarian groups reacted with horror to the move, saying that it will potentially send migrants into a country marred by violence. The U.N. refugee agency said in a statement this week that it has “serious concerns” about the policy.

“It is an approach at variance with international law that could result in the transfer of highly vulnerable individuals to countries where they may face life-threatening dangers,” the statement said.

“UNHCR is not party to any of the bilateral Asylum Cooperative Agreements (ACA) concluded in recent months between the United States and the governments of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. We are in dialogue with all of the governments concerned to enumerate our concerns as we also seek to learn more about their plans for implementation.”

But for the administration, which has prioritized securing America’s border and specifically ending the pull factors that have attracted more than a million migrants to make the journey north and attempt to enter the U.S., it’s a necessary move. The U.S. is also underwriting Guatemala’s asylum system, both through funding directly to the country and also via funding to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

The Guatemala agreement will work in conjunction with MPP, known colloquially as the “Remain-in-Mexico” policy, by which migrants seeking asylum are sent back to Mexico to await their immigration proceedings. That policy aims in part to speed up claims and also end the “catch-and-release” practice whereby migrants were released into the interior.

The administration’s approach, which includes building a wall at the southern border, has coincided with apprehensions at the border dropping by approximately 70 percent since May.

Author: Adam Shaw

Source: Fox News: Trump administration begins sending migrants to Guatemala as part of ‘safe third country’ agreement

In November of last year, when a caravan of hundreds of migrants approached the U.S.-Mexico border near San Diego, they faced old landing mat barriers erected decades ago. Border agents say the migrants simply trampled over it as they sought entry into the United States to claim asylum.

The situation on the ground is much different now.

As part of President Trump’s campaign promise to build a wall along the southern border, 14 miles of 18-foot primary steel bollard fencing has been built in San Diego, with a secondary 30-foot steel bollard barrier behind that which is approximately 80 percent complete.

They replace the 8-foot landing mats, which were often supported by a steel mesh behind that. The difference is dramatic.

“It’s incredibly different…I’m able to see the old landing mat right next to the bollard and I’m able to see the old mesh right next to the new bollard and the difference is startling,” Douglas Harrison, Chief Patrol Agent of U.S. Border Patrol’s San Diego Sector, told Fox News.

Harrison explained that it’s not a barrier that can be easily scaled: “It’s an intimidating barrier. I’m an old Army guy, I was in the 101st Airborne and I would not try to cross that.”

The two barriers in San Diego sector (U.S. Border Patrol)

The project to install 14 miles of replacement barriers began in May 2018 and is now complete. The secondary project began in February this year and it includes two miles of wall that did not exist before, officials say.

It’s part of a project that has, across the whole border, seen 71 miles completed, with an additional 162 currently under construction and an additional 276 miles in the “pre-construction” phase. It’s part of an ambitious plan to get somewhere close to 450-500 miles completed by the end of 2020.

Trump visited the San Diego project in September and spoke of it in glowing terms — even signing his name on the barrier.

“So it’s a very powerful, very powerful wall, the likes of which, probably, to this extent, has not been built before,” he said.

“But the numbers now are way down,” he later added. “And as the wall goes up — literally, as the wall goes up, the numbers go down.”

How effective the new barrier is being, in terms of both deterring migrants and stopping crossings, is tough to calculate. One thing that is clear is that its erection is coinciding with a sharp decline in apprehensions, although correlation does not necessarily equate to causation. In August, there were 3,326 apprehensions in the San Diego sector, down from 6,880 in March and 5,884 in May.

That reflects a borderwide trend that has seen apprehensions along the border as a whole drop almost 65 percent since May, as part of a multi-faceted strategy from the administration that has included not only barrier construction, but also agreements such as the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) — by which tens of thousands of migrants have been returned to Mexico while they await their immigration hearings.

Harrison said that while the wall makes a significant difference, it is hard to state categorically how much of the decline can be attributed to the wall alone.

“Apprehensions are down in the area, some of that reduction is I believe attributable to the barrier, but…at the same time as erecting that wall, we’re using tools like MPP to reduce entries, we got the Mexican government stepping up their enforcement on their northern and southern borders reducing the number of people coming to the area,” he said. “So it’s a very difficult question.”

But the barrier not only lowers apprehensions, it allows officers to make apprehensions more safely and closer to the border — rather than within border communities. Harrison says that, as a result, there has been a surge of construction taking place as better barriers go up, with construction of warehouses, housing, shopping outlets and restaurants.

“Even with the old wall system we had here in San Diego, we’ve got multimillion-dollar developments going up within sight of the border that could not have existed in the environment prior to starting to put that barrier out there,” he said. “There was too much crime, too many people running through.”

But he pushed back on concerns from some Trump supporters who have said that the administration has merely been replacing barrier rather than expanding it. Administration officials have said previously that the timely process of purchasing land has delayed that construction, but there will be more new linear mileage being built in the coming year.

Harrison says this is not merely replacement. It is a completely new system with not only significantly better barriers but with better access and technology to boot that helps agents track down illegal immigrants attempting to enter the U.S.

“In between, we’ve got all-weather roads that allow our guys to move laterally along the border and these didn’t exist until these last few years, so we’re able to move laterally across the border very efficiently,” he said, noting that cameras and sensors have also been added to the barrier.

The project in San Diego is not yet fully complete. After the 14 miles of secondary wall is completed, officials say that they are looking at additional measures, including sealing a gap further back between existing fence and nearby mountains.

The San Diego projects, along with others across the border, are likely to be watched closely by Trump, who will need to assure his base that the “Build the Wall” chant is being delivered upon by his administration.

“It’s going up fast and we’re putting it where the Border Patrol most wants it,” Trump said in a video message last month that likely previews his 2020 campaign message on the subject. “We’re taking money from all over because, as you know, the Democrats don’t want us to build the wall — they’re fighting us at every step.”

Trump fended off another effort against the barriers on Tuesday when he vetoed a resolution, passed by both chambers of Congress, that pushed to end his declaration of a national emergency on the border. Trump declared the emergency earlier this year, allowing him to re-direct money to the wall amid a congressional stalemate on the issue.

Adam Shaw is a reporter covering U.S. and European politics for Fox News.. He can be reached here.

Author: Adam Shaw

Source: Fox News: In San Diego, officials say new wall is helping bring border numbers down

In the span of just a few months, the idea of providing health care to illegal immigrants has morphed from a fringe, left-wing fancy to a plank of many 2020 Democrats’ presidential campaigns — but it’s a proposal that one study predicts would cost American taxpayers tens of billions of dollars a year.

A standout moment of the June 27 Democratic primary debate was that of all the candidates on the stage raising their hands, signifying support for government health care plans including “undocumented” immigrants.

Republicans and the White House have seized on that moment, with President Trump declaring it “the end of the race.”

But with the campaign definitely not over, and a number of frontrunners now backing the policy, more attention is turning to how much it could cost to give millions of illegal immigrants health insurance. On Thursday, the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), a policy group that advocates for lower levels of immigration overall, published a study finding that the cost could be up to $23 billion a year.

While candidates have not necessarily gone into detail about their plans, CIS cites an Atlantic survey that found that Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.; and former Housing Secretary Julian Castro would all provide “full benefits” to those in the country illegally.

The CIS study estimated that 4.9 million illegal immigrants have incomes below 400 percent of the poverty line and also do not have insurance — meaning they have incomes low enough to receive coverage via either Medicaid or the Affordable Care Act — also known to many, particularly critics, as ObamaCare.

The study estimates that if all income-eligible, uninsured illegal immigrants received subsidies under the ACA, then the cost to insure would be $22.6 billion, but with “likely enrollment” of 46 percent, the total cost would be perhaps $10.4 billion a year. It predicts that the average cost of a subsidized premium would be $4,637.

If a mixed approach of ACA subsidies and Medicaid enrollment were used, the cost would dip to $19.6 billion with 100 percent enrollment, and $10.7 billion assuming “likely enrollment.”

These numbers could change significantly if a more overarching health care overhaul is passed by a future Democratic White House and Congress.

“Numbers aside, the fact that presidential candidates are advocating spending billions of dollars on people who are in the country illegally is significant in its own right,” the report concludes. “It suggests that allowing in large numbers of less-educated workers will inevitably generate significant political pressure to provide them access to social programs.”

Extending health care to illegal immigrants could, however, be only one part of the cost to taxpayers of more generous social policies being pushed by Democrats.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., who was an early champion of left-favored policies now finding their way into 2020 Democratic platforms, recently introduced a new package of policies known as the “Just Society.”

Among those bills is “The Embrace Act,” which would allow illegal immigrants to claim the same welfare benefits as U.S. citizens and those in the country legally.

“Notwithstanding any other provision of law … an individual who is an alien (without regard to the immigration status of that alien) may not be denied any federal public benefit solely on the basis of the individual’s immigration status,” the bill reads.

The bill defines a federal public benefit as: “any grant, contract, loan, professional license or commercial license provided by an agency of the United States or by appropriated funds of the United States; and … any retirement, welfare, health, disability, public or assisted housing, post-secondary education, food assistance, unemployment benefit,or any other similar benefit for which payments or assistance are provided to an individual, household, or family eligibility unit by an agency of the United States or by appropriated funds of the United States.”

Adam Shaw is a reporter covering U.S. and European politics for Fox News.. He can be reached here.

Author: Adam Shaw

Source: Fox News: Providing health insurance to illegal immigrants could cost up to $23 billion a year, study finds

The United Nations is facing its worst cash crisis in nearly a decade and is warning that it may be unable to pay its bills by the end of the month, while urging member states to pay their contributions to the world body immediately.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres wrote to member states this week, saying that as of the end of September, they have only paid 70 percent of budget contributions, compared with 78 percent at this time last year.

“The Organization runs the risk of depleting its liquidity reserves by the end of the month and defaulting on payments to staff and vendors,” a statement by Guterres spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

“Stressing the Charter obligation of Member States, the Secretary-General thanked the Member States who have paid their regular budget assessments, which is now 129, and urged those who have not paid to do so urgently and in full,” the statement said. “This is the only way to avoid a default that could risk disrupting operations globally. The Secretary-General further asked governments to address the underlying reasons for the crisis and agree on measures to put the United Nations on a sound financial footing.”

While the U.S. is one of the countries that have not paid its contribution in full, an official from the U.S. Mission to the U.N. told Fox News that is in part because of differences in U.S. and U.N. fiscal years.

“To date this year, we have contributed over $600 million to UN peacekeeping operations, and will be providing the vast majority of the $674 million we owe to the 2019 regular budget this fall, as we have in past years,” the official said. “Overall the United States, as the largest contributor to the UN, contributes roughly $10 billion annually in assessed and voluntary contributions across the United Nations system.”

The official also said the U.S. has been clear that no single member should pay for more than a quarter of the U.N. budget. (The U.S. currently pays approximately 22 percent of the U.N.’s operating budget.)

President Trump echoed this sentiment on Wednesday morning, tweeting in reference to reports about the U.N. budget woes: “So make all Member Countries pay, not just the United States!”

Guterres, meanwhile, says he has requested other measures, including reductions in travel, postponement of spending, and postponing conferences and other meetings.

The U.S. is unlikely to step in to help solve the problem anytime soon. The Trump administration has pushed for a re-evaluation of the U.N. budget and has been skeptical of the U.N.’s alignment with U.S. interests.

A recent State Department report found that the U.N. General Assembly is out of sync with U.S. interests in more than two-thirds of votes taken in 2018.

Adam Shaw is a reporter covering U.S. and European politics for Fox News.. He can be reached here.

Author: Adam Shaw, Ben Evansky

Source: Fox News: UN sounds alarm on cash crisis, warns it may default on bills by month’s end

President Trump called Friday for House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff to resign for “fraudulently” reading out a hyperbolic account of Trump’s controversial July phone call with the Ukrainian president.

“Rep. Adam Schiff fraudulently read to Congress, with millions of people watching, a version of my conversation with the President of Ukraine that doesn’t exist. He was supposedly reading the exact transcribed version of the call, but he completely changed the words to make it sound horrible, and me sound guilty,” he tweeted.

He continued, “Adam Schiff therefore lied to Congress and attempted to defraud the American Public. He has been doing this for two years. I am calling for him to immediately resign from Congress based on this fraud!”

The dramatic reading happened Thursday when Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire was on Capitol Hill to defend his handling of the whistleblower complaint about the call that touched off a formal impeachment inquiry this week.

The complaint and the transcript of that call, both released this week, detailed how Trump urged President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.

“There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great,” Trump said in the phone call, according to the transcript. “Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it…It sounds horrible to me.”

But at the hearing, Schiff, D-Calif., offered an exaggerated version of the call.

“I have a favor I want from you,” Schiff said while appearing to read from a piece of paper. “And I’m going to say this only seven times, so you better listen good. I want you to make up dirt on my political opponent, understand? Lots of it, on this and on that.”

Schiff later chalked up his fictional summary of the phone call to a joke as he came under fire from conservatives for making up quotes.

“My summary of the president’s call was meant to be at least, part, in parody,” Schiff said. “The fact that that’s not clear is a separate problem in and of itself. Of course, the president never said, ‘If you don’t understand me I’m going to say it seven more times,’ my point is, that’s the message that the Ukraine president was receiving in not so many words.”

Trump on Friday was not buying that claim, however.

“HE WAS DESPERATE AND HE GOT CAUGHT,” he tweeted.

Schiff quickly responded to Trump’s tweet with one of his own, accusing him of trying to cover up a “shakedown.”

“But you’re right about one thing — your words need no mockery,” Schiff said. “Your own words and deeds mock themselves.”

Adam Shaw is a reporter covering U.S. and European politics for Fox News.. He can be reached here.

Author: Adam Shaw

Source: Fox News: Trump demands Schiff resign over ‘parody’ reading of Ukraine call: ‘HE GOT CAUGHT’

Acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director Matthew Albence on Thursday revealed a recent ICE operation nabbed dozens of illegal immigrants with a record of child sex offenses, as he railed against the dangers of “sanctuary cities” he said put public safety at risk.

“It’s time to publicly call out those who have put politics over public safety, those who make our communities less secure, who create safe havens in which criminal aliens and gangs are allowed to flourish and can victimize innocent people with impunity,” he said in a White House briefing, surrounded by sheriffs and other law enforcement officials.

The briefing was part of a coordinated push by the Trump administration to again highlight the dangers of “sanctuary” jurisdictions that refuse to comply with detainers from immigration enforcement authorities. Senior ICE officials will be holding briefings across the country to warn of the dangers of sanctuary policies.

Those detainers request that local law enforcement notify immigration authorities when an illegal immigrant who has been arrested is due to be released from jail, so that they can be picked up by ICE and placed in deportation proceedings. Albence said that last year they deported more than 145,000 criminal illegal immigrants, including 10,000 gang members, and that about 70 percent of arrests ICE conducts occur via a detainer from a local or state jail or prison.

But with anti-ICE and open-border sentiments taking a growing hold among Democratic lawmakers and left-wing activists, a number of cities and states — including New Jersey, California, Chicago and New York City — have implemented sanctuary policies and refused to cooperate with law enforcement.

Albence pointed to a national ICE operation this week in which officers made 1,300 arrests. He said that of those, officers arrested nearly 200 who could have been arrested in jail if detainers had been honored.

Of those arrested, three had convictions for murder or manslaughter and 100 had convictions for sexual crimes — with nearly half of those crimes involving children. Meanwhile, 70 had convictions for drug crimes and 328 had convictions for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Albence gave the example of a man in Mecklenburg County, N.C., who was arrested for driving while intoxicated earlier this year. ICE filed a detainer but he was released. In June he was then arrested for two counts of assault on a female, assault by strangulation, assault with a deadly weapon and a DWI. He was again released, despite an ICE detainer.

“Hopefully we will find him before he hurts or kills another innocent victim,” he said.

He added that ICE could prevent numerous crimes if local law enforcement complied with detainers, and asked what those jurisdictions to say to the family of a victim of a crime committed by an illegal immigrant.

“For those who support victims’ rights, and who among us doesn’t, how do we tell a grieving victim that the person who hurt you or your loved one that the crime was preventable if local law enforcement had merely honored a detainer or given us a phone call?” he said. “Who are these sanctuary cities really protecting?”

Law enforcement who joined Albence at the podium echoed those sentiments.

“We know that too often in the wake of these criminal aliens are left nothing but a trail of victims,” said Sheriff Jim Skinner of Collin County, Texas.

Albence’s questioning of whether liberal immigration policies are as compassionate as activists claim comes on the heels of Trump making a similar argument at the United Nations, where he slammed the “cruel” policies of open-border activists.

“Today, I have a message for those open border activists who cloak themselves in the rhetoric of social justice: Your policies are not just, your policies are cruel and evil,” he said Tuesday, accusing them of promoting human smuggling and the “erasure of national borders.”

“You are empowering criminal organizations that prey on innocent men, women and children. You put your own false sense of virtue before the lives and well-being of countless innocent people,” he said. “When you undermine border security, you are undermining human rights and human dignity.”

Adam Shaw is a reporter covering U.S. and European politics for Fox News.. He can be reached here.

Author: Adam Shaw

Source: Fox News: ICE nabs dozens of illegal immigrants with record of child sex offenses, as director slams sanctuary cities

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