Last week, Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced the arrests of 24 sex offenders, all in the country illegally. Some might actually get deported. However, given President Joe Biden's porous-borders policy, there's a good chance those who are deported will come back soon.
Two of the best ways to prevent crime are to keep known violent or repeat offenders behind bars and to keep known foreign criminals out of the country. Unfortunately, the Biden administration—aided and abetted by radical progressive prosecutors—is failing on both counts. Biden and the Left recently highlighted the rape of a 10-year-old girl to advance their views on abortion. What they didn't mention was the fact that the crime was preventable. Gerson Fuentes, the alleged rapist, was in the country illegally. Had the 27-year-old Guatemalan been stopped from crossing the Mexico-U.S. border, he never would have been living in the same house as the girl's mother. Fuentes's immigration status is not only relevant; it is the very enabling factor that placed a vulnerable child in danger and allowed the rape to happen.
Under the Biden administration, up to 70% of Border Patrol agents are off the line and doing what essentially social work is: getting illegal crossers registered, then arranging travel to their preferred U.S. destination at taxpayer expense. This makes it easy for dangerous, recidivist criminals like Fuentes to cross the border and evade inspection. Criminal records checks required in visa applications would have prevented him from getting a visa or even boarding a flight out of Guatemala City, but coyotes from Mexican cartels would gladly have taken his $5,000 and gotten him safely into the U.S. overland.
Fuentes is not alone. Thankfully, despite being hobbled by Biden administration guidance, officers from ICE's Los Angeles office were still able to arrest those 24 offenders during a weeklong operation. They all had prior criminal convictions, and some were registered sex offenders. Several had previously been removed from the United States after serving their sentences. In theory, those with charges outstanding could be prosecuted. But given the refusal of some big-city district attorneys to prosecute, who knows what will happen?
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The ICE announcement said those with criminal convictions will be "processed administratively for removal from the United States." That used to mean they would be detained until removal so that they couldn't harm any more people. But Biden's CBP has already released 750,000 illegal crossers this year. What kind of people are we talking about? Those arrested in the Los Angeles operation include a Guatemalan convicted of felony lewd and lascivious acts with a child under 14, a Mexican convicted of felony sodomy by use of force/injury, and a Philippine citizen convicted of felony sexual penetration of an unconscious victim, and others of similar ilk.
Meanwhile, this last week alone, Border Patrol agents in the Rio Grande sector arrested an MS-13 gang member with a criminal history of aggravated homicide in El Salvador, a Honduran convicted of sexual battery in Tennessee, a Mexican previously sentenced in Wisconsin to three years in prison for sexual assault, and five other known gang members.
Just imagine what else the Border Patrol could have found had they not been busy dealing with the latest massive group of illegal migrants who crossed the Rio Grande a few days ago.
Biden and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas can pretend there is no cost to having an open border, but the news and numbers show otherwise. Until we can regain control over the flow, we will continue to admit many illegal aliens who present a clear, proven risk to Americans and others.
Securing the border is not only desired by a majority of people. It's required by law. The Biden administration and prosecutors everywhere should start doing their jobs.
This piece originally appeared in the Washington Examiner