An audit by the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General found that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is facing a variety of challenges, particularly with implementing the Known or Suspected Terrorist Encounter Protocol (KSTEP). KSTEP allows a myriad of law enforcement and intelligence agencies to coordinate and streamline the “protocol for identifying and processing aliens who are known or suspected terrorists.”
ICE can only screen immigrants while they are in custody. As of June 2017, just 33,701 of 2.4 million—about 1.4 percent—of all immigrants actively monitored by ICE and Immigration Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) were subject to KSTEP screening for connections to known or suspected terrorists. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that “some law enforcement agencies will not honor ICE immigration detainer requests,” thereby preventing ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) from taking custody of criminal aliens for KSTEP screening.
From January 2014 through May 2017, approximately 675 jurisdictions nationwide refused to honor more than 29,269 ICE immigration detainer requests. When a state or local law enforcement agency declines to transfer custody of a removable criminal alien to ICE, the released alien may put the public and ERO personnel at risk and it then requires significantly more resources to bring the individual into ICE custody.
California denied 11 ICE detainer requests, the majority for immigrants convicted of violent crimes, between January and February 2017, taking the cake for most detainer requests declined, 3,348, between 2015 and 2017. So-called “Sanctuary Cities,” having been specifically designed to limit or prohibit immigration authorities, were the worst offenders.
The DHS audit found that in a sampling of 40 case files of detained immigrants identified as known or suspected terrorists, “all had at least one instance of noncompliance with KSTEP policy.” Noncompliance with KSTEP included failures inappropriate application of background checks or outright failure to utilize them, inadequately confirming or denying aliens as known or suspected terrorists, and failure to appropriately document and report “aliens confirmed as known or suspected terrorists.”
While still a senator, current Attorney General Jeff Sessions repeatedly warned former President Obama of critical weaknesses in United States interior security. On at least three occasions, the Obama administration refused “to provide details on the immigration histories of terrorists convicted in the United States.” In a letter obtained by Fox News, Senators Sessions and Ted Cruz implored Obama to cooperate with immigration authorities. Sessions said:
[T]hese data make clear that the United States not only lacks the ability to properly screen individuals prior to their arrival but also that our nation has an unprecedented assimilation problem.
Sessions’ Senate Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest revealed that between September 2001 and December 2014, 580 people were convicted of terrorism in the United States—the vast majority of which were foreign-born. Between 2009 and 2014, the United States rewarded green cards to approximately 832,000 individuals from Muslim-majority countries, including 3,887 Syrian refugees in 2016—of whom only 23 were not Muslim—to say nothing of persecuted Syrian Christians in dire need of aid.
Germany, France, and the United Kingdom are all experiencing the same security concerns as the United States over the growing problem of domestic terrorism. Despite the objections of organizations dependant on identity politics for their existence, like the Council on American-Islamic Relations, national security concerns are not rooted in bigotry. Such objections are supported by stories like that of the New York City woman who claimed men on a subway train shouted “Trump,” “terrorist,” and “Go back to your country” at her. The only problem is that her story, like so many of its kind, turned out to be a hoax, Fox News Insider reported:
Further investigation brought authorities to the conclusion that Yasmin Seweid fabricated the encounter and they subsequently charged her with filing a false report and obstructing government administration.
Yasmin Seweid admitted she made up the story because she did not want to be in trouble with her family for staying out late, Abby Huntsman reported.
The Trump administration has its work cut out for it but appears to be on the right track by acknowledging national security concerns and taking steps to address them.