Months after the Biden administration canceled a program that deported illegal immigrants convicted of sex crimes, the Border Patrol reports a stunning 3,166% increase in sex offenders crossing into the U.S. illegally via Mexico. Known as Operation Talon, the initiative was launched in the final weeks of the Trump administration and was run by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Around a month after Biden took office, Operation Talon was canceled, igniting outrage among law enforcement and elected officials around the country. Bad move by the incoming administration considering that between October 2014 and May 2018 ICE arrested nearly 20,000 illegal immigrants previously convicted of sex-related offenses including child molestation, rape, sexual assault, and human trafficking, according to data collected by Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC).
More than a dozen attorneys general blasted the administration for killing Operation Talon and warned the president in a letter of the repercussions. They specifically mention that it could encourage sexual predators seeking to enter the U.S. illegally. “The cancellation of this program effectively broadcasts to the world that the United States is now a sanctuary jurisdiction for sexual predators,” the attorneys general write. “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. It will also broadcast the message to other criminal aliens who have committed other offenses that any kind of robust enforcement against them is unlikely.” The signatories include the attorney general of Florida, Alabama, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Georgia, Louisiana, and Kentucky, among others. The chief legal officers proceed to ask: “If the United States will not remove even convicted sex offenders, whom will it remove?”
The warning about more sex offenders entering the U.S. illegally has evidently materialized. During a recent one-week period, Border Patrol agents in the Del Rio Sector in Texas arrested 10 convicted sex offenders shortly after crossing into the U.S. illegally. In a statement, the frontline Homeland Security agency discloses that between May 17 and 23, agents arrested Mexican nationals with felony convictions including forcible sexual abuse, sexual assault of a child under 14, sexual assault of a child, sexual assault, sexual conduct with a person under 13 and a registered sexual offender. Agents also arrested two Honduran nationals with felony convictions for statutory rape, and second-degree sexual assault of a child. On May 24, two Mexican nationals with prior convictions were arrested. Record checks revealed one individual had a felony conviction for lewd and lascivious molestation. The second had a felony conviction for lewd and lascivious acts with a child. “The majority of these criminals were apprehended in our sector’s most remote areas, attempting to avoid detection by crossing far from populated areas,” said Del Rio Sector Chief Patrol Agent Austin L. Skero II. “Our agents’ sign cutting and tracking skills were instrumental in capturing these criminals, preventing them from infiltrating our communities.”
This fiscal year, which began on October 1, the Del Rio Sector has arrested 95 convicted sex offenders, shattering a Border Patrol record that amounts to a 3,166 % increase over the same time frame last fiscal year. That is astounding as the Mexican border crisis worsens and frontline agents are increasingly overwhelmed with the onslaught. In April Judicial Watch reported that the Border Patrol had already arrested more than twice as many criminal migrants in those first six months of fiscal year 2021 than it did in all of 2020. In the first half of the fiscal year, the agency apprehended 5,018 “criminal aliens” compared to 2,438 in all of fiscal year 2020. The criminal aliens busted include 265 sex offenders and 576 convicted of assault, battery, and domestic violence. “If you are in this country illegally and have a history of sex convictions you should be a high priority for our law enforcement agencies,” writes a Florida congressman in a letter to Mayorkas shortly after Operation Talon got nixed. “Tragically, human trafficking cases have more than doubled in the last four years alone while other sex-related crimes have also increased,” Congressman Vern Buchanan, who serves on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, writes to the DHS chief. “My home state of Florida has the third highest number of human trafficking cases of any state. Abruptly scrapping this important federal operation exposes potentially countless victims to these dangerous predators.”