The Biden Administration Should Be Deporting All Criminal Alien Gun Offenders
On June 2, President Joe Biden delivered a speech calling for an end to gun violence in the United States. The president’s calls for action ranged from adding more restrictions on firearms to expanding mental health services for vulnerable individuals. In April, his administration unveiled a plan aimed at curtailing firearm-related crime.
There’s no doubt the administration has drawn attention to an issue weighing on the minds of every American. However, of President Biden’s proposals to reduce the prevalence of shootings, there is no mention of empowering U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to arrest and deport more criminal alien gun offenders.
After the Biden administration took office last year, it implemented several policies that limit ICE agents from arresting and removing most criminal illegal aliens, including those convicted of weapons offenses.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation defines a weapons offense as “The violation of laws or ordinances prohibiting the manufacture, sale, purchase, transportation, possession, concealment, or use of firearms, cutting instruments, explosives, incendiary devices, or other deadly weapons. Attempts are included.”
According to ICE data obtained by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), in Fiscal Year 2021, ICE deported 1,662 aliens convicted of weapons offenses – a 34 percent decrease from the 2,556 aliens removed in FY 2020. In FY 2019, before the Covid-19 pandemic slowed enforcement efforts, ICE deported 3,121 foreign nationals for weapons violations. Thus, the FY 2021 removals represent a 46 percent decrease compared to FY 2019.
To make matters worse, the Biden administration has limited the 287(g) program, which allows state and local law enforcement agencies to assist with immigration enforcement, such as identifying and removing illegal aliens with pending criminal charges or convictions. As a result, from FY 2020 to FY 2021, there was a 52 percent decline in arrests for aliens convicted of weapons offenses.
CIS’s Jon Feere has noted the Biden administration has refused to take custody of criminal aliens identified through the 287(g) program. Subsequently, sheriffs have been forced to release these dangerous criminals back into their communities, where they could commit new crimes. For example, numerous aliens who were convicted of firearms violations and armed carjackings have been released because ICE, under the direction of the Biden administration, has refused to take custody of them.
There should be unanimity in removing an alien who has violated 18 U.S.C. 922(g) or have been convicted of the following at the federal, state, or local level:
- Unlawfully possessing a firearm.
- Brandishing a firearm in the commission of a crime.
- Transporting firearms across state lines without authorization.
If the administration wants to mitigate gun violence, it should expand immigration enforcement operations to deport as many criminal alien gun felons as possible.
Fortunately, on June 10, U.S. District Judge Drew Tipton voided the administration’s memo that limits ICE arrests and deportations, including those convicted of firearms violations. However, it remains to be seen if the president will abide by the federal court order immediately or drag his feet, as he has done with other rulings.
While immigration enforcement is not the panacea for gun violence, it helps minimize these horrific crimes from occurring by removing likely repeat offenders from the country. Protecting Americans and legal immigrants from gun-wielding assailants who could easily be removed should be a top priority for the federal government.