Public relations is a vital issue for all companies and government agencies. When public relations professionals twist stories to create a deceptively positive impression, they are said to be “spinning” the story. All too frequently, news releases issued by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) spin faster than gyroscopes.
Before we get to the news release I have decided to dissect for my commentary today, I want you to consider the tale about a young boy, Billy, who is almost always coming home with a black eye or other such injury inflicted by some of the schoolyard bullies. His dad is understandably upset and insists that Billy learn to defend himself -- but to no avail.
Finally, one day, in a fit of desperation, Billy's father says to him, “Billy, if you come home with another black eye I will punish you, so you better learn to stand up and defend yourself.”
Poor Billy comes home the very next day, sporting yet more bruises and one hell of a “shiner.” His dad is visibly worked up, but before he can say anything to his boy, the kid blurts out, “Dad, you should really be proud of me, I hit the other kid right on the fist with my eye!”
Such is the case with all too many ICE news releases.
Today we will focus on the ICE news release dated August 17, 2015 that announced, “ICE arrests 300th foreign fugitive this year.”
First of all, we should commend the valiant efforts of the ICE enforcement personnel and those with whom they worked in order to arrest Elmer Francisco Reyes, described in the press release as “a 30-year-old Honduran man, wanted on a warrant for aggravated sexual assault by Honduran law enforcement authorities who issued a warrant for his arrest in August 2010.”
These law enforcement officers are doing the best that they can with scarce resources and, as we will see, being forced to push uphill against forces that are not only beyond their control, but acting in direct opposition to the mission that they are charged with carrying out to protect public safety.
Much attention has been devoted to sanctuary cities and the victims of criminal aliens. ICE personnel should not have had to spend the time and effort locating Reyes, who had been already in custody. However, it would appear that the sanctuary policies of Miami Dade Corrections resulted in this alien being set free.
I consider this to be a self-inflicted wound. Thankfully Reyes did not commit a heinous crime while he was at large, but this does not minimize the significance of the release of this violent criminal alien.
Consider this excerpt from the ICE news release:
"Arresting and removing these kinds of fugitives is the lifeblood of what our officers do every day,” said Executive Associate Director of ICE’s Office of Enforcement and Removal Operations Tom Homan. “Protecting the American people by taking dangerous criminal aliens off our streets has been and always will be our first priority.”
The 300th capture was Elmer Francisco Reyes, a 30-year-old Honduran man, wanted on a warrant for aggravated sexual assault by Honduran law enforcement authorities who issued a warrant for his arrest in August 2010.
Reyes entered the United States illegally and was removed to Honduras initially in May 2009. Reyes re-entered the U.S. and was re-arrested in Miami Beach, Florida in September 2014. He was issued a reinstated order of deportation and was referred for criminal prosecution.
In February 2015, the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Florida convicted Reyes of illegal re-entry and sentenced him to four months imprisonment and three years supervised release. After sentencing, Reyes was transferred to the custody of Miami Dade Corrections pursuant to an outstanding armed robbery charge. Reyes was released by Miami Dade Corrections in April 2015.
On July 17, 2015, the ERO Miami Field Office Fugitive Operations Group along with the Miami Beach Police Department and the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force tracked Reyes to a Miami Beach, Florida residence where he was arrested. Reyes was removed to Honduras on July 31, 2015.
Reyes was wanted for committing an armed robbery in the United States. You have to wonder how many other crimes this thug likely committed in the United States for which he was not identified as being the perpetrator and, if this was in fact the case, what harm he did to his victims.
There was no mention as to when or how he “entered the United States illegally.” Only that he had been deported from the United States in May 2009 and was arrested in September 2014 and that a warrant had been issued for his arrest in his native Honduras in August 2010 charging him with aggravated sexual assault.
There was no word as to how long he had managed to evade law enforcement authorities in the United States. Certainly the fact that Miami is a sanctuary city had to play a part in his decision as to where to live and “ply his trades” as a street thug.
If Reyes assaulted other victims, then the politicians in the local Miami government should be thought of as un-indicted co-defendants who helped shield him from detection by their sanctuary policies. If this is their idea of compassion, they need to explain that to those who fall victim to criminal aliens who live and operate within their jurisdictions.
As for the broader issue of sanctuary cities, on July 16, 2015 CAPS (Californians for Population Stabilization) posted my commentary, “Sanctuary Cities and Collateral Damage.”
The CAPS website also posted my earlier article on this topic on November 17, 2014. My commentary was titled "‘To Serve and Protect:’ Who Is Served, Protected in Sanctuary Cities and States?"
Having used the term “shielded,” let us consider the obvious violation of federal immigration law that sanctuary cities violate by their policies. The section of law in question is, Title 8, U.S.C. 1324(a) Offenses.
Here are the relevant portions of this section of law:
Harboring -- Subsection 1324(a)(1)(A)(iii) makes it an offense for any person who -- knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that an alien has come to, entered, or remains in the United States in violation of law, conceals harbors, or shields from detection, or attempts to conceal, harbor, or shield from detection, such alien in any place, including any building or any means of transportation.
Encouraging/Inducing -- Subsection 1324(a)(1)(A)(iv) makes it an offense for any person who -- encourages or induces an alien to come to, enter, or reside in the United States, knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that such coming to, entry, or residence is or will be in violation of law.
Conspiracy/Aiding or Abetting -- Subsection 1324(a)(1)(A)(v) expressly makes it an offense to engage in a conspiracy to commit or aid or abet the commission of the foregoing offenses.
Unit of Prosecution -- With regard to offenses defined in subsections 1324(a)(1)(A)(i)-(v), (alien smuggling, domestic transporting, harboring, encouraging/inducing, or conspiracy/aiding or abetting) each alien with respect to whom a violation occurs constitutes a unit of prosecution. Prior to enactment of the IIRIRA, the unit of prosecution for violations of 8 U.S.C. § 1324(a)(2) was each transaction, regardless of the number of aliens involved. However, the unit of prosecution is now based on each alien in respect to whom a violation occurs.
Knowledge -- Prosecutions for alien smuggling, 8 U.S.C. § 1324(a)(1)(A)(i) require proof that defendant knew that the person brought to the United States was an alien. With regard to the other violations in 8 U.S.C. § 1324(a), proof of knowledge or reckless disregard of alienage is sufficient.
Penalties -- The basic statutory maximum penalty for violating 8 U.S.C. § 1324(a)(1)(i) and (v)(I) (alien smuggling and conspiracy) is a fine under title 18, imprisonment for not more than 10 years, or both. With regard to violations of 8 U.S.C. § 1324(a)(1)(ii)-(iv) and (v)(ii), domestic transportation, harboring, encouraging/inducing, or aiding/abetting, the basic statutory maximum term of imprisonment is 5 years, unless the offense was committed for commercial advantage or private financial gain, in which case the maximum term of imprisonment is 10 years. In addition, significant enhanced penalties are provided for in violations of 8 U.S.C. § 1324(a)(1) involving serious bodily injury or placing life in jeopardy. Moreover, if the violation results in the death of any person, the defendant may be punished by death or by imprisonment for any term of years. The basic penalty for a violation of subsection 1324(a)(2) is a fine under title 18, imprisonment for not more than one year, or both, 8 U.S.C. § 1324(a)(2)(A). Enhanced penalties are provided for violations involving bringing in criminal aliens, 8 U.S.C. § 1324(a)(2)(B)(i), offenses done for commercial advantage or private financial gain, 8 U.S.C. § 1324(a)(2)(B)(ii), and violations where the alien is not presented to an immigration officer immediately upon arrival, 8 U.S.C. § 1324(a)(2)(B)(iii). A mandatory minimum three year term of imprisonment applies to first or second violations of § 1324(a)(2)(B)(i) or (B)(ii). Further enhanced punishment is provided for third or subsequent offenses.
It would appear that, fortunately, the agents who arrested him did so without incident. However, whenever law enforcement officers conduct field investigations, the potential always exists that such encounters may become violent, jeopardizing the well-being and, indeed, the lives of the law enforcement personnel and others. It is unconscionable that any law enforcement officers would intentionally turn criminal aliens loose when they should be handing these criminal aliens over to ICE personnel.
The news release noted that Reyes was released by authorities at the Miami-Dade Corrections in April 2015. There was no mention as to whether or not a detainer had been filed by ICE. This is a question that Congress should be demanding an answer to. Had such a detainer been filed, then it is clear that Miami-Dade Corrections was willing to put a violent thug on the street to satisfy a political agenda that put public safety at risk.
The managers at Miami-Dade Corrections should be issued subpoenas to explain their decisions at a congressional hearing so that everyone can be made aware of how life-threatening decisions are being made.
Another factor to consider is how much time and effort was expended by ICE and the U.S. Marshal Service to locate and apprehend a criminal alien who was already in custody. As kids we all played the game of “Hide and Seek.” When it involves criminals it is no game!
Furthermore, according to the ICE news release, over a period of more than 6 months ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) arrested just 300 criminal fugitive aliens. Here is the relevant sentence:
The majority of this fiscal year’s 300 arrests took place in California, Florida and Texas. The majority are violent criminals who had been convicted of or are wanted for crimes, which include 101 for murder, 15 for sexual offenses, 13 for assault, ten for kidnapping and 13 for robbery.
There are hundreds of thousands of criminal aliens scattered in communities across the United States. Boasting about the apprehension of such a meager number of dangerous criminal aliens takes quite a bit of chutzpah. Remember that as an alleged consequence of funding sequestration, the administration has turned tens of thousands of criminal aliens loose. (It would certainly be worthwhile knowing if this individual was one of those released.)
Let us now consider this quote from the news release:
Since Oct. 1, 2009, ERO has removed more than 1,150 foreign fugitives from the United States who were sought in their native countries for serious crimes, including kidnapping, rape and murder. ERO works with HSI’s Office of International Operations, foreign consular offices in the United States, and Interpol to identify foreign fugitives illegally present in the United States.
The question is how many such fugitives are currently present in the United States. Remember, when aliens evade the inspections process conducted by CBP (Customs and Border Protection) at ports of entry, there is no record of their entry and no way of knowing who they are or why they entered our country covertly. It must be presumed that a significant number of these aliens are fleeing law enforcement agencies in their home countries or other countries where they may have committed serious crimes.
It would also be worthwhile knowing how many of these international fugitives were identified and taken into custody when they were arrested for committing serious crimes in the United States, victimizing more innocent people whom our law enforcement officials and politicians took and oath to defend.
The case of Elmer Francisco Reyes has become the norm and should be the rare exception.
Our politicians must devote their efforts to protecting their constituents and living up to their oaths of office or they must be driven from their elected positions at their next election.
This is not about “Left” or “Right,” but about right or wrong.