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Facing a widening national sanctuary movement for criminal illegal immigrants, Immigration and Customs Enforcement is aggressively pushing back, claiming that soft-hearted political and community leaders are releasing harden criminals pursuant to their sanctuary policy.

After a county bordering Washington, D.C., joined over 300 sanctuary governments late last week, ICE has released the photos of 66 wanted illegal immigrants held by those jurisdictions to drive home its point that those set free are hardened criminals.

It also knocked down claims that it is targeting illegal immigrants facing no criminal charges, noting that 90% of those arrested are convicts or wanted for alleged criminal acts. ICE said, in its campaign against “non-cooperative jurisdictions:

Nationally, approximately 90% of all people arrested by ICE during fiscal year 2019 either had a criminal conviction, a pending criminal charge, had illegally re-entered the United States after being previously removed (a federal felony), or were an immigration fugitive subject to a final order of removal.

Last week, Prince George’s County, Maryland, joined other D.C. areas in ordering law enforcement to not cooperate with ICE when the agency requests that illegal immigrant criminals in custody be turned over for court action or deportation. ICE decried the move and added that all it wants is to seize criminals and those wanted for crimes.

"The only way a person is subject to an ICE detainer ... is if they are handcuffed and arrested for a crime committed in the local community," said acting ICE Director Matt Albence. In releasing the photos of the 66 wanted in Maryland and North Carolina, ICE said,

When law enforcement agencies fail to honor immigration detainers and release serious criminal offenders onto the streets, it undermines ICE's ability to protect public safety and carry out its mission. As ICE has repeatedly made clear, when local jurisdictions refuse to cooperate with federal law enforcement, they not only betray their duty to protect public safety, but force ICE to be more visible in those areas.

Last week, Attorney General William Barr and acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf ripped moves in Oregon and Washington to bar ICE from seizing criminal illegal immigrants in or near state courthouses. As with local jails, ICE argues that seizing illegal immigrants is safest in those facilities.

For the full story, please visit the Washington Examiner.

Updated: Tue, Dec 10th 2019 @ 3:25pm EST