Saturday, October 1, 2011

ICE does good with Cross Check, arrests 32 in Tennessee

September 2011 "Cross Check" operation. Photo source: ICE

Good news: Uncle Sam is making an effort to go after the worst of the worst in the Volunteer State.

According to the Tennessean, 32 convicted criminals were taken off of Tennessee streets as part of a nationwide immigration raid in September. One of the arrestees was living in Franklin and had been convicted of lewd and lascivious acts with a minor, and he will presumably be deported to his home country of Mexico. The total number of people arrested across 50 states and 4 territories was 2,901, which makes Tennessee's number of 32 relatively low in comparison.

The federal government is hailing these sweeps as a crackdown on people who had committed safety-related crimes like the Franklin man (see the ICE press release here). This particular enforcement action (one of many given the name "Cross Check") was spearheaded by ICE's National Fugitive Operations Program ("NFOP"), which is responsible for locating, arresting and removing at-large criminal aliens and immigration fugitives. The officers who conducted this Cross Check operation received substantial assistance from ICE's Fugitive Operations Support Center ("FOSC") and ICE's Law Enforcement Support Center ("LESC"), both located in Williston, Vermont.

ICE says that it is focused on "smart, effective immigration enforcement that targets serious criminal aliens who present the greatest risk to the security of our communities, such as those charged with or convicted of homicide, rape, robbery, kidnapping, major drug offenses and threats to national security." ICE also says that it prioritizes "the arrest and removal of those who game the immigration system including immigration fugitives or those criminal aliens who have been previously deported and illegally re-entered the country."

So there is some ambiguity as to how much of the arrestees of the September operation were guilty of both purely immigration-related crimes as well as of safety-related crimes. There is no doubt, however, that the emphasis of the sweep was crime. It is important to keep in mind that criminal sentences against immigrants can be handed out without due process, which is a danger to everyone, not just immigrants.  But it is also important to keep in mind a principle on which almost every American resident agrees, immigrant and native-born alike: focusing immigration enforcement on criminals is a good thing, and actual enforcement actions against criminals are for everyone's benefit. (Pretty much everyone also agrees that Americans and businesses need to be targeted by law enforcement, as well, but that's a different story.)

Three cheers for the officers and other public servants who are making our streets safer with this focus on crime and criminals.

And thanks for the reminder that Tennessee is home to fewer criminals than average. Let's keep it that way.

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