From The Tribune staff reports
MONTGOMERY — Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall joined a coalition of 18 attorneys general in urging President Biden, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement Acting Director Johnson, to reverse the Biden administration’s last-minute cancellation of Operation Talon, a nationwide ICE program focused on removing convicted illegally present sex offenders from the United States.
In a letter to President Biden, Attorney General Marshall and his colleagues argued that canceling Operation Talon could embolden sexual predators who seek to enter the United States illegally and exacerbate issues of sexual assault and trafficking in the immigrant community.
“The cancellation of this program effectively broadcasts to the world that the United States is now a sanctuary for sexual predators,” said Marshall and the AG coalition. “This message creates a perverse incentive for foreign sexual predators to seek to enter the United States illegally and assault more victims, both in the process of unlawful migration and after they arrive. It will also broadcast the message to other criminal aliens who have committed less heinous offenses that any kind of robust enforcement against them is extremely unlikely.”
The coalition said that according to data collected by Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, during the period from October 2014 to May 2018, ICE arrested 19,752 illegal aliens with criminal convictions for whom the most serious prior conviction was a conviction for a sex-related offense.
The attorneys general emphasized how human trafficking and sexual assault are endemic issues in the immigrant and migrant communities, especially at the border. Citing the Polaris Project, the AGs continued, “the overwhelming majority of victims of sex and/or labor trafficking in the United States were foreign nationals, not U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents. For cases in which citizenship status was known, 77.5 percent of trafficking victims (4,601 out of 5,939) were not U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents.”
“We urge you to immediately reinstate Operation Talon, adopt an aggressive enforcement policy against illegal aliens convicted of sex crimes, and send a message to sexual predators that they are not welcome in the United States of America,” the coalition stated.
The Missouri-led letter was also signed by attorneys general from Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and West Virginia.
Biden revoked Trump-era immigration policies, including Operation Talon, on Feb. 3. Retired Immigration and Customs (ICE) Director Tom Homan told Fox & Friends that “people will die, people will be raped. People will be victimized by criminals that shouldn’t even be here” because of the Biden-Harris administration changes.