Press Briefing: ICE chief says recent court ruling impedes public safety

Nicholas Sakelaris

Oct. 10 (UPI) -- Immigration and Customs Enforcement Acting Director Matthew Albence said at a White House press briefing Thursday that a recent court ruling has interfered with public safety.

U.S. District Court Judge Andre Birotte issued a permanent injunction against ICE issuing detainers solely on flawed database searches.


"Many U.S. citizens become exposed to possible false arrest when ICE relies solely on deficient databases," that "contain incomplete data, significant errors, or were not designed to provide information that would be used to determine a person's removability," Birotte wrote.

The judge cited ICE data from May 2015 to February 2016, which showed 771 detainers were lifted out of 12,797 who were either U.S. citizens or otherwise not subject to removal.

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Still, Albence said during Thursday's briefing the decision would "threaten public safety."

"Tying our hands from the bench does not make our country any safer," Albence said. "It will lead to the release of criminal aliens back onto the street -- criminals that we won't find before they hurt or, worse, more innocent victims -- victims that could have been spared their pain and suffering if only ICE had been allowed to do its job."

He criticized the ruling as judicial overreach.

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"While I wish I could say this is an isolated occurrence, it is but the latest example of judicial overreach targeting immigration enforcement and the application of laws already passed by Congress, often decades ago," Albence said.

Albence also said ICE is using DNA testing "to ferret out the false families."

"We're hitting about a 15 percent rate of individuals or families presenting as families that really aren't families," he said, adding that 1,000 such cases have been prosecuted along the southwest border.

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A pilot DNA sampling program began in May, as the number of Central American asylum seekers surged.

The acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Mark Morgan spoke Tuesday about the "unprecedented achievement" the Trump administration has made in reducing and deterring illegal border crossings.

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