Securing America Requires a Secure Border

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Noe Victelio Rivera-Batres is a citizen of El Salvador who was convicted of illegally crossing the border into the United States three years ago and then ended up living in Las Vegas.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement summarized his story in a press release it put out three weeks ago.

Rivera, it says, is a 50-year-old man, who “is a known or suspected member of the transnational criminal street organization known as Mara Salvatrucha or ‘MS-13.’”

He “illegally entered the United States in June 2018 near McAllen, Texas, and was issued a Notice and Order of Expedited Removal by the U.S. Border Patrol on June 12, 2018,” said ICE.

“The United States District Court, Southern District of Texas, McAllen Division, convicted Rivera of Illegal Entry, and sentenced him to time served,” ICE said. “He was subsequently turned over to ICE custody and was released on bond the same day.”

That’s right: After he was convicted of illegal entry into the United States, he was released into the United States.

But then a court in El Salvador took action.

“On March 11, 2019,” said the ICE press release, “Specialized Magistrates Court, City of San Miguel, El Salvador, issued an arrest warrant for Rivera for terrorist organizations and aggravated murder, and on May 15, 2019, INTERPOL issued a Red Notice for Rivera for the same charges.

“According to the Red Notice, Rivera participated in a murder Oct. 31, 2015, that took place at a cemetery in Ozatlan, El Salvador.”

Early in January, ICE said it made a “custody redetermination” that “required Rivera to surrender to ICE on Feb. 10.”

Rivera did not.

So, on March 3, ICE arrested him “at his Las Vegas residence.”

This time, the government decided not to release him.

“Rivera will remain in ICE custody until the completion of his removal proceedings,” said the ICE press release.

Then there is the case of Jose Wilmer Montano—who ended up in Minnesota.

Last September, ICE said in a press release published Jan. 19, the Bloomington, Minnesota, police arrested Montano “on drug and burglary charges.” Two days later, ICE arrested him “after the jail released him.”

Two months after that, ICE “received notice that Montano was the subject of an arrest warrant issued by the government of El Salvador for charges of murder, attempted murder, and an act of terrorism while using a firearm.”

“Montano,” ICE explained, “is wanted in El Salvador for numerous charges stemming from a 2014 incident in which he and two others are alleged to have attacked a Salvadoran police station using firearms, killing a mechanic, and wounding local officers.”

Montano, ICE said, “fled the country”—meaning El Salvador—and ended up taking refuge “in the Minneapolis metropolitan area.”

ICE put him on a charter flight back to El Salvador just five days before President Joe Biden was inaugurated.

Then there is the case of Marlon Ariel Mendez Maldonado, who also came from El Salvador.

This 28-year-old man “was first encountered by immigration officials from the U.S. Border Patrol on Oct. 31, 2019, near Refugio, Texas,” said ICE in another press release published on Jan. 11. It described him as “an unlawfully present Salvadoran national … wanted in El Salvador for aggravated homicide.”

“On Dec. 20, 2019, INTERPOL issued a Red Notice for Mendez Maldonado for aggravated homicide,” ICE said.

Maldonado asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit to stop his deportation. It did not.

On Jan. 8, 12 days before Biden was inaugurated, ICE put Maldonado on a charter flight back to El Salvador and handed him over to the Salvadoran police.

We do not know if the men featured in these three ICE press releases committed the crimes they have been accused of in their native country—and we do know they deserve due process of law and to be considered innocent until proven guilty.

We also know that no one should be allowed to violate this nation’s borders or immigration laws.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection publishes statistics on the criminal aliens it arrests each year. A “criminal alien,” it explains, is an alien who has been “convicted of one or more crimes, whether in the United States or abroad, prior to interdiction by the U.S. Border Patrol.”

The current statistics show a clear pattern: Even as criminals continued to enter the United States in recent years, their numbers had been declining—until now.

In fiscal 2016, the year before Trump took office, the Border Patrol arrested 12,842 criminal aliens. In 2017, it arrested 8,531; in 2018, it arrested 6,698; in 2019, it arrested 4,269; and in 2020, it arrested 2,438.

Thus, from fiscal 2016 through fiscal 2020, there was an 81% decline in the criminal aliens arrested by the Customs and Border Protection.

But through March 10 of fiscal 2021—which started on Oct. 1 and will run through September—CBP had arrested 4,140 individuals with criminal convictions. That is a nearly 70% increase over the total for all of last year.

What offenses have these criminal aliens been convicted of committing? According to CBP, they include 3 convictions for homicide or manslaughter; 484 for assault, battery, or domestic violence; 308 for burglary, robbery, larceny, theft, or fraud; 715 for driving under the influence; 816 for illegal drug possession or trafficking; 140 for illegal weapons possession, transport or trafficking; and 210 for sexual offenses.

It is Biden’s duty to secure this nation’s borders. Will he?

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