On Friday I visited Massachusetts U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling to discuss a number of important topics in an interview that will be released as part of a multipart series. The first being illegal immigration and how sanctuary cities here in Massachusetts and beyond that flout federal law and harbor criminal immigrants are making it difficult for ICE to do their job and keep our communities safe.
Thank goodness for Massachusetts we have a voice of reason in the big chair.
AndrewLelling: There’s this persistent myth that ICE is running around randomly plucking people off the street to arrest. People who may be here illegally but who have a job and otherwise are law abiding that is not who ICE is prioritizing for arrest. ICE is looking for people who are here illegally and who have committed some other offense or for some other reason are a danger to the community. And it seems to me that every municipality, every state should support that function.
Adriana Cohen: In your recent op-ed in the Herald you stated that last year “ICE made 2,469 civil arrests in the New England region. Approximately 90% of these arrestees had prior criminal convictions or arrests on criminal charges. This should be utterly uncontroversial.” Yet liberal politicians here in Massachusetts and elsewhere bend over backwards to protect illegal immigrants and shield them from deportation regardless of the threat it poses to public safety.
AL: A big problem is ICE used to be able to take people into custody directly from jails or other state facilities. Not being able to do that because of sanctuary city policies makes it more dangerous for the ICE agents who now need to go out into the communities to arrest these people. It’s a much more chaotic environment. That’s not good for anybody because ICE isn’t going to stop doing what it is supposed to be doing.
They are enforcing a federal law. If you don’t want federal laws on crossing the border illegally to be enforced vote for a change in the laws. But don’t take it out on the officers who are just doing their job.
AC: Throughout the country scores of Americans are being raped or killed by dangerous illegal immigrants. Last week a man here illegally from El Salvador was charged with raping an 11-year-old girl in M a r yland.
In Massachusetts an illegal alien killed Matthew Denice in a drunk driving incident in 2011. The president point ed out many other heinous cases during his recent State of the Union Address yet despite all that liberals still want to protect criminal illegals. Where does it go from here?
AL: What’s so tragic about it is if border security was better and if ICE receives more cooperation from municipalities and states some of these people would not have been here to commit those crimes in the first place. ICE should be priori tizing the people who came here illegally who have committed other offenses or are other wise violent or are in gangs. That was the same policy the Obama administra tion followed. It is sensible. People should stay out of ICE’s way while they do that.
AC: Do you think ille gal immigrants should be given driver’s licenses?
AL: I don’t. It seems to me that it’s part of an effort to do an end run around or normalize what is intentional illegal conduct. So every person who crosses the border illegally and the vast majority of people who do this are just looking for a job or looking for more opportunity. But every single person who crosses the border illegally is knowingly and intentionally violating federal law. So what are we to tell all the people back in those home countries who try to do it legally instead of illegally? That they’re suckers for not sneaking over the border illegally?
So every government benefit you authorize for people who’ve intentionally violated U.S. law normalizes what they’re doing. It says it’s “OK” what you did when it’s not OK. And that’s why as a general matter I don’t agree with the idea that in-state tuition at universities, driver’s licenses or whatever government benefit you’re talking about should be readily extended to people who’ve entered the country illegally.