Sunday, October 05, 2008

Sanctuary cities are a problem for ICE's 'Operation Community Shield'

Having recently completed a four-month national roundup, arresting and detaining some 1,759 gang members called “Operation Community Shield,” the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement said that sanctuary cities were a problem for federal agents seeking to arrest and deport criminal gang members living in the U.S. illegally.

“It definitely is a problem for us if local law enforcement are encouraged not to cooperate with ICE or not to work with ICE, even when we’re talking about known gang members who may have committed very, very serious crimes,” said Julie L. Myers, Assistant Director of Homeland Security for Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Myers said progress had been made in some cities where local law enforcement officers had been killed by illegal aliens, but there were still complications in other cities. A federal law enforcement official confirmed that ICE agents in California faced the greatest problems in San Francisco, where a citywide sanctuary policy bars immigration officers from reviewing arrest records or training local jailers on federal immigration law.

In Los Angeles, ICE agents have better access to inmates and local jailers have been trained to identify arrestees who may be living in the U.S. illegally. Seventeen percent of the gang arrests were made in Southern California, ICE officials confirmed.

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