Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt today led a coalition of 18 states in urging President Biden, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement Acting Director Johnson, to reverse the Biden Administration’s last-minute cancellation of Operation Talon. Operation Talon is a nationwide ICE operation that focuses on removing illegally present convicted sex offenders from the United States.
“Today, I’m pleased to lead this coalition of 17 other states in urging President Biden to reverse the decision to cancel Operation Talon, which focuses on removing convicted sex offenders who are illegally in the United States. Broadcasting that sexual predators and traffickers are potentially immune from deportation or other legal action only worsens the crises of sexual assault and trafficking at the border and potentially in Missouri,” said Attorney General Schmitt. “In combating human trafficking in Missouri, we strive to send the message that our state is inhospitable to trafficking through our actions and initiatives - The United States needs to send the same message.”
The letter argues that canceling Operation Talon could embolden sexual predators who seek to enter the United States illegally and exacerbate issues of sexual assault and trafficking in the immigrant community.
The letter states, “According to data collected by Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, during the period from October 2014 to May 2018, ICE arrested 19,752 illegal aliens with criminal convictions for whom the most serious prior conviction was a conviction for a sex-related offense.”
Protesting the cancellation of Operation Talon, the letter says, “The cancellation of this program effectively broadcasts to the world that the United States is now a sanctuary jurisdiction for sexual predators. 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 less heinous offenses that any kind of robust enforcement against them is extremely unlikely.”
The letter also details how human trafficking and sexual assault are major issues in the immigrant and migrant communities, especially at the border. The letter, citing the Polaris Project, continues, “the overwhelming majority of victims of sex and/or labor trafficking in the United States were foreign nationals, not U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents. For cases in which citizenship status was known, 77.5 percent of trafficking victims (4,601 out of 5,939) were not U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents.”
The letter closes with, “We urge you to immediately reinstate Operation Talon, adopt an aggressive enforcement policy against illegal aliens convicted of sex crimes, and send a message to sexual predators that they are not welcome in the United States of America.”
The letter, led by Missouri Attorney General Schmitt, was also signed by the attorneys general from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia.