‘Who Are They Trying To Protect?’: Former ICE Chief Blasts Las Vegas Police For No Longer Honoring Detainers

Jason Hopkins on October 25, 2019

Ron Vitiello, the former acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), blasted Last Vegas authorities for their decision to drop a cooperation program with the agency.

The City of Las Vegas, including the Las Vega Metropolitan Police, announced that it would no longer be involved in 287(g), a cooperative agreement between ICE and local authorities. Under the program, federal immigration authorities ask their local counterparts to hold onto a detainee long enough for an ICE agent to arrive and make an apprehension.

The decision makes Las Vegas the latest municipality to announce its intention to no longer cooperate with the agency.

“It’s not good. Jurisdictions should be cooperating with ICE,” Vitiello said Friday morning on “Fox and Friends First.” “Who are they trying to protect here? What it is this euphemism of sanctuary cities all about? People who came to the country illegally, and then were arrested by a local department.”

Las Vegas authorities said they reached their decision following a recent court decision in California regarding ICE detention policies and came to the conclusion that “it will no longer honor Federal immigration detainer for civil immigration violations.” In his own statement, however, Sheriff Joseph Lombardo appeared to be unhappy with the decision, referring to it as a “setback.”

Vitiello, who worked in immigration enforcement for over three decades, criticized judges who are outlawing 287(g).

“This is the most comprehensive way to get criminals off the street who are also in the country illegally,” he said of the program. “When a jurisdiction doesn’t cooperate with ICE, that means that ICE officers in that community have to go and find people who are at large. That means they have to go find them in neighborhoods. They have to go find them in businesses.”

“That makes it more dangerous for them. It also makes it more dangerous for the community,” he continued. The former ICE reiterated that 287(g), in fact, keeps communities safer.

Since President Donald Trump entered office, a growing number of jurisdictions have prohibited cooperation with ICE. Since 2017, Orange County, California; Salem County, New Jersey; Hudson County, New Jersey; Anne Arundel County, Maryland; Harris County, Texas; and others have dropped partnerships with the agency, according to Fox News.

Vitiello attributed the rise to Trump’s “enthusiasm” for border enforcement, but added that the agency has increased the number of people involved in the 287(g) program.

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