Done playing games: I.C.E. begins issuing immigration subpoenas in sanctuary state California

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San Diego, California – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials have had enough of the sanctuary policies plaguing California, and have finally decided the time for niceties is over.

Since California state sanctuary laws forbid state and local law enforcement from acknowledging immigration detainers – ICE decided it was time for immigration subpoenas.

Clearly, ICE is done playing games with these sanctuary states (and frankly, it’s about damn time).

A press release from the agency was seething with embedded frustration on February 14th.

The release detailed the frustration that ICE has been dealing with in trying to get California to simply cooperate with their efforts to remove criminal illegal immigrants. Time and again, we’ve heard stories about how law enforcement agencies within sanctuary cities and states have refused to respect immigration detainers issued by ICE.

Among those frustrated is none other than Gregory Archambeault, who serves as the San Diego Field Office Director for ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations within the sanctuary state.

Within the press release, the Archambeault was quoted saying:

“The public needs to be aware and concerned that California sanctuary state laws do not protect public safety and is bad public policy.  Criminal aliens are being released back into the community daily and most will re-offend resulting in more victims.”

What Archambeault is citing is plain common sense, since ICE has detailed time and again instances where criminal aliens could have been removed, but sanctuary cities shielded them. Just last month, ICE released a detailed account of the harm sanctuary cities like New York City are causing.

Archambeault continued expressing his disdain with these “woke” politics eroding public safety priorities:

“For ICE, the most concerning part about dealing with uncooperative jurisdictions, or places that are not allowed to work with us, is that we don’t always know who is being arrested, when they’ll be released, or if they are at-large in the community again.”

So now, instead of ICE relying on the hopes that California will abide by an immigration detainer request – they’ve upgraded to using an immigration subpoena. Several of them actually, naming specific individuals that the agency believes that San Diego County Sheriff’s Office has in their custody.

The announcement starts off with the following:

“U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement served four immigration subpoenas Friday on the San Diego County Sheriff’s Office requesting information about multiple illegal aliens who were criminally arrested in San Diego, yet under California’s sanctuary state laws, the SDSO cannot honor immigration detainers or provide ICE non-public information about the criminal aliens to include notifying ICE if a criminal alien has been released back into the community.” 

You see, subpoenas are a whole different can of worms than an immigration detainer.

Legally speaking, “detainers” are like requests that would typically get honored out of professional courtesy.

However, sanctuary states and cities have specifically instructed their state/city-run law enforcement branches to not cooperate with these requests. So, while they’re official requests, ignoring them has no real federal penalty.

That’s where subpoenas come in to play.

Granted, they’re a little timelier to get into motion since they require a judge’s signature.

But, once it’s signed, failure to abide equates to being held in contempt. Meaning folks can start getting fined or jailed for not complying with whatever information the subpoena requests.

ICE had no issues explaining why it has now come to this with California:

ICE has not historically needed to use its lawful authority to issue subpoenas for information from other law enforcement agencies, as most law enforcement agencies throughout the country willingly provide ICE with information regarding aliens arrested for crimes in the interest of public safety.”

What’s all the sadder is that the people ICE is looking to detain have some pretty horrendous criminal histories and allegations.

One of the persons ICE is seeking is a 28-year-old illegal alien arrested for was arrested for assault with force, great bodily injury, child cruelty and battery of spouse by the SDPD in January this year.

That person had already been removed several times from the country and already has a previous conviction in the states for battery on spouse.

One of the other persons ICE is ready to get custody of is a 40-year-old illegal alien who was arrested for continuing sexual abuse of a child, lewd and lascivious act of a child under fourteen years old, and oral copulation with a person under fourteen years old.

This arrest is on top of the two previous DUI convictions as well. The other two ICE are looking for aren’t winners either – with one having methamphetamine charges and the other charged for false imprisonment and battery of a spouse.

ICE explained in their release that this is the first time they’ve needed to do this in California. They noted that in January of this year they’d done the same in Denver, Connecticut and New York. The statement by ICE concluded that if these subpoenas issued get ignored, there will be consequences.

And that’s not all.

Don’t want to play by the rules?  Say goodbye to the gravy train.

New York implemented its Green Light law in mid-December of last year.  The law allows illegal immigrants to apply for government-issued driver’s licenses, and also blocks DMV employees from providing any database information to an agency that enforces immigration laws without a subpoena. 

This means that Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Patrol can’t use information that is “vital to building out these criminal cases, identifying criminal suspects, and enhancing officer safety,” said the Department of Homeland Security.

CBP’s Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan said:

“New York’s Green Light Law is detrimental to CBP and ICE.  The information we receive from New York state is vital to our missions, and blocking federal law enforcement officers from accessing it creates a significant threat to both officer and public safety.”

Anyone with common sense knows that it’s absurd to put illegal immigrants and their driving desires over the safety of our legal citizens and our law enforcement community.

Many republicans, both in the House and the Senate, obviously have common sense.

Led by Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn, Stop Green Lighting Driver Licenses for Illegal Immigrants bill was introduced.  The legislation calls to:

“…restrict certain federal grants for States that grant driver licenses to illegal immigrants and fail to share information about criminal aliens with the Federal Government.”

Senator Blackburn is joined by 6 other senators in sponsorship.  The House main sponsor for the bill is Colorado Representative Ken Buck, who is joined by 21 co-sponsors. 

According to Fox News, if passed:

“Specifically, it would halt Justice Department (DOJ) grants, in particular those awarded under the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG), which is a top source of federal criminal justice funding for states.”

Estimates point to upward of $53 million being received through JAG by states that issued driver’s licenses illegally.

During his State of the Union address last week, President Trump said:

“The United States of America should be a sanctuary for law-abiding Americans, not criminal aliens.” 

Democrats and republicans have been at war over “immigration sanctuaries” for some time.  As the left continues pushing the line and granting illegal aliens more and more rights, Republicans are finally starting to push back.

Senator Blackburn issued a statement following the bill’s introduction.  In it, she said:

“Tennesseans know all too well what can happen when illegal immigrants are granted driver licenses. 

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.”

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This legislation comes after the Department of Homeland Security announced the suspension of Trusted Traveler programs for New York residents, including Global Entry. 

The DHS said it’s impossible to “run the necessary security checks and risk assessments” with access to the DMV database restricted.

The Global Entry program is intended to move people through airports and ports of entry security more quickly once they’re determined to not be a security risk.

Acting DHS Security Secretary Chad Wolf said in a statement:

“New York’s ‘Green Light Law’ is ill-conceived and the Department is forced to take this action to ensure the integrity of our Trusted Traveler Programs.

“It’s very clear: this irresponsible action has consequences.”

Wolf continued:

“CBP is able to offer Trusted Traveler Programs like Global Entry because we are able to use DMV data to make an evidence-based assessment that those individuals who seek this benefit are low risk and meet the eligibility requirements.

Without the DMV information, we aren’t able to make that assessment.  We must do our job.”

It’s estimated that between 150,000-200,000 New York residents alone will be affected by the program suspension.  At this time, DHS said, TSA PreCheck would not be affected.  But that could change. 

The DHS warned that other states who follow NY’s example will also have their travel programs affected. 

Last week, NY Governor Andrew Cuomo said the suspension of programs is a “political stunt.”  

“I don’t want unlicensed people on our roads,” Cuomo said. “It’s a public safety issue, and that’s what I’m concerned about.  This is unbounded arrogance, disrespect of the rule of law, hyper-political government and this is another form of extortion.”

Cuomo said the Green Light laws aren’t going anywhere.

Let’s see how he feels when he runs out of federal funds.

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