Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall on Thursday joined a coalition of 17 other attorneys general in urging President Joe Biden and his administration to reverse their last-minute cancellation of Operation Talon, a nationwide ICE program focused on removing convicted sex offenders who are illegally present in the United States.
In a letter to Biden, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and ICE Acting Director Tae Johnson, Marshall and his Republican colleagues argued that canceling Operation Talon could embolden sexual predators who seek to enter the country 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 additional AGs.
“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,” they wrote. “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 letter outlined that data has shown 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, they outlined that “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 attorneys general stressed.
Read the full letter here.
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn