The BorderLine is a weekly Daily Signal feature examining everything from the unprecedented illegal immigration crisis at the border to immigration’s impact on cities and states throughout the land. We will also shed light on other critical border-related issues like human trafficking, drug smuggling, terrorism, and more.
Thanks to President Joe Biden’s immigration policies, every American is forced to play a game of “recidivist roulette” with criminal aliens. In addition to installing a virtual revolving door at the border, the Biden administration has spiked immigration law enforcement in the interior of the country, putting the lie to Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas’ oft-repeated whopper that “our border is not open, that crossing irregularly is against the law, and that those who are not eligible for relief will be quickly returned [to their home countries].”
More than two years ago—before the Biden administration started mass releases and parole of illegal aliens caught at the southern border—there were already over 400,000 convicted criminal foreigners walking free throughout the United States. That’s 400,000 convicted criminals out of around 5 million illegal aliens on Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s “non-detained docket,” meaning all the aliens involved in deportation proceedings who, under U.S. law, should be detained while awaiting their hearings but are not.
With today’s social media, facial recognition, and amazing data tools, a lot of the 400,000 could be found, but ICE officers are so constrained by their political bosses that they are barely able to arrest anyone. The Biden administration has given ICE the paltry target of deporting just under 30,000 criminal aliens this fiscal year and the same for next year.
Roughly 4 million illegal aliens have been allowed into the U.S. since Biden took office, at least an estimated 1.8 million of whom were “gotaways”—those thought to have entered the U.S. but not identified or arrested. Given the number, age, and origin of all the illegal aliens entering the country, it’s certain that a percentage of them have criminal records and that Biden is thus adding more convicts per year to our population than ICE is subtracting.
Over 70% of U.S. state prisoners (both citizens and foreigners) are re-arrested within five years of release. It’s a fair bet that released or paroled aliens with foreign criminal records (that are undiscoverable or unknown to the Department of Homeland Security), re-offend at similar rates. And logically, it would be even higher for the gotaways who deliberately avoid detection.
The costs of recidivism, or re-offending, by criminal aliens are borne by Americans, including physical and financial harm to victims, diverted law enforcement resources, and burdens on the entire criminal justice system.
Just a few of the many examples of preventable crimes resulting from Biden’s border policies will illustrate the risk we all put up with.
In August 2018, Jose Gonzalez-Flores, an illegal alien from Guatemala, rear-ended a family van near Chesterfield, Virginia, killing 4-year-old Elias Camacho. He was drunk—at 5 in the afternoon—and fled the scene of the accident. For that “involuntary manslaughter,” Gonzalez-Flores served 3 1/2 years in prison, after which ICE deported him back to Guatemala. A year later, he was back in the U.S. as a gotaway.
The Biden administration’s deliberate decision to divert all possible staff and money to processing illegal aliens at the border (to let them into the U.S. rather than turning them away) has allowed gotaway numbers to rise from the decade-long average of about 125,000 a year to at least 600,000 now.
Recidivist criminals like Gonzalez-Flores, and the cartels that smuggle them in, know that. So that their U.S. criminal records are not discovered, they avoid ports of entry and easily evade a Border Patrol thinned out by re-assignments off the border. ICE eventually found Gonzalez-Flores and re-arrested him in Virginia. He was charged with unlawful re-entry after deportation. After serving his latest 4-year sentence, he should be deported again.
On Nov. 24 of this year, ICE deported Cesar Antiono Rafael Lopez, an illegal alien wanted in Guatemala for rape. Border Patrol encountered him in Arizona in 2019 and was able to deport him a few days later under an expedited removal process created in 1996.
That process was intended to limit the release of illegal aliens into the U.S. at the border and to allow them to be more quickly deported. However, illegal aliens claiming that they have a “credible fear” of returning to their home countries for fear that they would face violence or government persecution can avoid removal and apply for asylum in the U.S. There is a very low bar for aliens to claim credible fear and avoid this quick process, and around 75% pass the test to enter the U.S. and the years-long asylum process.
Lopez illegally came back three more times, on June 3, June 8, and June 12, 2021. He was removed each time—most likely to only over the border to Mexico, given the speed of his re-entries. On his fourth try, he made it back as a gotaway. There had been no consequences for his earlier fails, although the government should have prosecuted him for the crime of illegal reentry.
Lopez remained in the U.S. for two years until this September, when he was arrested in Michigan on unspecified “local charges.” As often happens, local jail officials didn’t honor the detainer ICE had lodged with them. Detainers are a law enforcement courtesy where ICE asks state authorities to let it take custody of prisoners before they are released, so that the government can enforce federal immigration law. Probably due to local “sanctuary city” policies, the jail failed to inform ICE before it released Lopez, but ICE found and arrested him in October. A month later, Lopez was deported to Guatemala.
In September, Honduran illegal alien Kevin Castro-Garcia was charged with two murders in Nashville. Authorities found the burned body of victim Brandon Rivas-Noriega inside a torched car and the decomposing body of a second victim, Elmer Nahum Miranda-Martinez, in the trunk of a different car. Castro-Garcia is a member of Sur 13, a transnational criminal organization. He had already been deported from the U.S. twice before, in 2010 and again in 2018, but for him and other dangerous aliens, re-entering the U.S. illegally as a gotaway has never been easier.
In July, a 25-year old Haitian gotaway was released with a Notice to Appear before an immigration judge in Boston to explain why he should not be deported. But there are 55,000 asylum cases pending in Boston. The average wait there from court filing (assuming he bothered to file for asylum) to asylum hearing is about four years and growing. He didn’t make it that far, as on Oct. 3, police in Massachusetts arrested him for assaulting someone in his own household.
DHS knows it is releasing potential human time bombs into American communities every day. U.S. citizens only learn the risk when it’s too late. Unless we get control of our border by ending the flow of migrants making fraudulent asylum claims, enforcing immigration law in the interior, and getting Border Patrol back on the border, thousands of high-risk illegal aliens like those mentioned above will keep coming. Under Joe Biden and Alejandro Mayorkas, the Department of Homeland Security is failing at its “one job”—securing the American people from preventable threats.
Read Other BorderLine Columns:
Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email letters@DailySignal.com, and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Remember to include the URL or headline of the article plus your name and town and/or state.