The Tale of Woke Sheriffs, a Fake Heiress, and a Gutted ICE


May 26, 2022

By Brian Lonergan

Although our contemporary pop culture is often frivolous and vapid, it occasionally serves as an unlikely inspiration for important and instructive discussion.

Such a moment occurred recently in the ongoing saga of Anna Sorokin. The Manhattan-based, Russian-born German national who claimed to be an heiress named Anna Delvey recently served nearly four years in prison after being found guilty of attempted grand larceny after defrauding banks, hotels, and acquaintances.

The New York media covered her trial extensively, which led to “Inventing Anna,” a glossy Netflix series based on her story. Sorokin is currently in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in upstate New York, facing possible deportation.

When asked about her predicament by Fox News Digital, Sorokin, 31, replied in an emailed statement, “I lived out most of my adult life in NY and a lot of my friends and support system are based in the US. I don’t see a reason why I should be banned forever while so many violent offenders get released by ICE on a daily basis.

ICE is releasing violent offenders? Where did she get that? Just a few years ago the borderless America crowd was calling ICE agents the modern-day Gestapo.

One can forgive Sorokin for not knowing the intricacies of immigration enforcement. She is right, however, that violent offenders are getting released. But it is woke sheriffs around the country who are doing the releasing.

One of the most effective tools for keeping violent criminal aliens out of communities has been ICE’s 287(g) program. Sheriff’s departments agreed that when ICE issued a detainer request on a noncitizen being held in a local jail, that person would be held until ICE could arrive and take custody of the person for deportation proceedings. It does not take a master’s in criminology to see that such a program is a win for safer communities.

Naturally, the anti-borders Left has targeted 287(g) for destruction. A crop of sheriff candidates have emerged in recent years vowing to terminate the program if elected. One of them is Keybo Taylor in Gwinnett County, Georgia. The Immigration Reform Law Institute recently conducted an investigation into Taylor, and the results were alarming to say the least.

The year before Taylor’s election, the county honored 1,652 ICE detainer requests. The following year that number shrank to 240, an 85 percent decrease. Those released back into the community on bail rather than being deported were facing charges including drug trafficking, rape, and DUI. All the faux compassion for illegal aliens by local law enforcement cannot justify the practice of releasing criminal aliens back into a community rather than into ICE custody.

As Anna Sorokin faces deportation for her actions, so should the criminal aliens currently held in jails throughout the country for committing violence in our communities.

Despite such facts, the demonization of 287(g) has become a cause célèbre on the Left. While 142 state and local jurisdictions currently cooperate with ICE, 37 have ended their 287(g) participation in recent years. What hope does a community have when those charged with protecting it are instead servicing a partisan agenda that makes the place more dangerous?

While certain sheriffs are making their communities more dangerous, the current management of ICE is changing the agency’s mission in a way that causes yet more chaos. In an April memo, ICE officials encouraged its prosecutors to use their discretion to pursue cases against those deemed a higher priority threat, while either not initiating or dismissing cases against those who are not.

While such a move may be touted as a commonsense way to deal with crime, in fact it encourages further disrespect for our immigration laws and will create more incentives for noncitizens to ignore our legal processes and break our laws to enter the country. Along with our current misguided catch-and-release policy, the result will be an ever-increasing flow of noncitizens here illegally, creating more competition for jobs and draining social services.

As Anna Sorokin faces deportation for her actions, so should the criminal aliens currently held in jails throughout the country for committing violence in our communities. When the American public rejects woke sheriffs and the politicians who seek to gut our federal enforcement agencies, we can begin to have an immigration system that benefits our country and those outside it who seek to be a part of a safe, prosperous nation.  

Brian Lonergan is director of communications at the Immigration Reform Law Institute, a public interest law firm working to defend the rights and interests of the American people from the negative effects of mass migration.

Also published at: Brian Lonergan, The Tale of Woke Sheriffs, a Fake Heiress, and a Gutted ICE, American Greatness, May 26, 2022.

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