California’s Orange County is seeing a recidivism rate of more than 25% for undocumented immigrants it has released under the state’s sanctuary law, according to new data the sheriff’s department released and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement highlighted this week.
Migrants who were released and then rearrested for new crimes had charges of rape, domestic violence, DUI and child sex offenses.
Orange County said it received requests from ICE to turn over 1,507 inmates in 2019. It released 492 of them to ICE after the undocumented immigrants had completed their sentences, but 1,105 were put back on the streets under the terms of the state’s sanctuary law, known as SB54.
Of those 1,105, the sheriff’s department said 238 were rearrested on new charges in Orange County alone.
That works out to a recidivism rate of 23% just last year.
That doesn’t include charges they may have incurred in other jurisdictions.
“The two-year social science experiment with sanctuary laws must end,” said Don Barnes, Orange County sheriff-coroner.
President Trump highlighted the dangers of sanctuary cities in his State of the Union address Tuesday night, pointing to murders in New York and California he said would not have happened if local authorities had turned over criminals to ICE.
Immigrant rights advocates complained that the president was politicizing the issue.
They argue that immigrants are less likely to report crimes to police departments that cooperate with ICE, hurting public safety in the long run.
Sanctuary jurisdictions vary greatly.
Some do cooperate on releasing immigrants with serious criminal convictions who have completed their sentences. Others refuse all communication.
ICE says an immigrant who is in the U.S. illegally and has been charged with a crime but not yet convicted is still a target for deportation, given their legal status, and once arrested for some criminal offense should become a priority for deportation.
On Wednesday the agency highlighted a case in Virginia where an undocumented immigrant from Guatemala was arrested on charges of sexually assaulting a child, was released from custody, and now stands charged again with indecent liberties with a child.
She was again released, but ICE says it arrested the woman in the community Monday.
The woman, Mariassa Martinez, 29, came to the U.S. from Honduras without permission in 2018, just as the migrant caravan surge was ramping up.
In both cases, ICE says, the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail gave only a late notice that the woman was about to be released, leaving ICE officers no time to pick her up.
Facing resistance from a growing number of sanctuaries, and with little prospect that Congress will take action to pressure the communities to cooperate, ICE last month said it was tapping a new tool.
The agency issued subpoenas to New York City demanding information on key target undocumented immigrants.
One of those was Martin Estrada-Barela, who was arrested in January 2019 on charges of attempted rape, unlawful imprisonment and attempted assault. ICE had asked New York to turn him over when he was released, but the city defied that request and instead put him back on the streets in February 2019.
ICE served a subpoena two weeks ago demanding New York reveal whatever information it had on the migrant’s whereabouts, but the city didn’t comply.
ICE officers tracked the man down in the Bronx on Jan. 31 and arrested him.
Thomas R. Decker, head of ICE’s deportation operations in New York, said he could have been nabbed earlier had the city cooperated.
“It’s a clear signal that they place the criminal alien above law-abiding residents,” he said.
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