Tags: Operation | Community | Shield | Targets | Criminal | Aliens

Operation Community Shield Targets Criminal Aliens

Friday, 22 September 2006 12:00 AM

While politicians and special interest groups take their time debating possible "immigration reform" and "border fences," brutal lawbreakers are entering our country each and every day, including hardcore gang members.

Thousands upon thousands of criminal alien gang members are behind a surge of atrocious violence that includes rapes, armed robberies, narcotics peddling and murders. The existence of these lethal gangs is a plaque not only to major metropolitan areas but also to an ever expanding number of suburban and rural locations.

Unlike "traditional" American gangs whose members are mainly U.S. citizens, many of this new breed of criminal gang members is foreign born. Some police officials characterize these highly organized and malicious gangs to be "without any borders or flags."

This powerful wave of "international" gang violence has grabbed the attention of law enforcement officials on the local, state and federal levels. In fact, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), part of the Department of Homeland Security, has recently instituted an innovative strategy, Operation Community Shield, to arrest, imprison and/or deport gang members. In just the few months since its inception, Operation Community Shield has had optimistic results, with the arrests of well over 1,000 alleged gang members.

According to ICE, this is how Operation Community Shield operates:

"Operation Community Shield, launched in March 2005, is ICE's comprehensive law enforcement initiative targeting violent criminal street gangs nationwide.

"Operation Community Shield includes all criminal street gangs that pose a risk to public safety and a concern to national security, putting into motion an aggressive law enforcement action with the goal to investigate, arrest, and prosecute any violent street gang members, leaders, and/or associates that routinely seek to exploit or engage in violent criminal activities.

"Under Operation Community Shield, ICE focuses its powerful enforcement tool toward a single goal: Dismantling gang organizations by targeting its members, seizing its financial assets and disrupting its criminal operations. ..."

Since the majority of these gang members are foreign nationals, many of whom are also illegal immigrants, it is appropriate that ICE is leading the law enforcement community in developing novel and effective tools to attempt to combat this fierce scourge.

Some interesting insights into how law enforcement is approaching this fast-building international gang problem can be gleaned from these selected excerpts from a August 1, 2005 Department of Homeland Security press release featuring comments from Secretary Michael Chertoff:

"Operation Community Shield, [is] an operation which is designed to target the very worst gang offenders here in the United States, those who commit some of the most serious crimes and who threaten the harmony and the fabric of our society."

"Collectively, we have arrested members of over 80 different gangs as part of Operation Community Shield, and over half those arrested in the last two weeks have prior criminal histories. Many were gang leaders with exceptionally violent criminal histories. Among the horrific crimes committed by some of the people we have apprehended include murder, rape, assault, burglary, and, of course, weapons and narcotics offenses."

Secretary Chertoff added, "For too long, these gangs have gone unchecked, flouting our laws and demonstrating a blatant disregard for public safety. I am joined today by members of the law enforcement community who have worked with us in enforcing Operation Community Shield and who join me in viewing gangs as a threat to our homeland security, and as a very urgent law enforcement priority."

"Gang violence and gang criminal behavior is the kind of threat to our vulnerabilities that all of us – federal, state and local officials – are very, very concerned about. Indeed, our threat assessments indicate that many gang members come to this country from overseas, or from other parts of the North and South American continent, which means that they are subject to our immigration laws and that when they violate those laws, we can take action against them. We are deeply committed to enforcing these immigration laws and restoring integrity to our immigration system."

"ICE's combined immigration and customs authorities, together with its advanced financial crimes expertise, have provided valuable tools to hit these criminal organizations from all different angles, and, at the same time, we're aggressively using all of these tools to arrest and, when possible, to deport or prosecute gang members. Our investigators are following their money trails to cut off the funding and seize cash, weaponry, and other assets that are integral to gang operations."

For more information on Operation Community Shield, log on to www.ice.gov. For additional details on Secretary Michael Chertoff's remarks, go to www.dhs.gov.

Since the majority of these gang-bangers are foreign nationals, ICE is properly using our country's immigration laws as a formidable tool to arrest, imprison and/or deport these criminal aliens.

However, according to media reports, there have been numerous cases where gang members are deported to their home countries, only to quickly make their way back to the streets and shores of the United States. In fact, it was reported that in at least one case, the same alleged gang member was deported and was able to illegally re-enter the United States a shocking six times!

We cannot make the perilous and heroic work of ICE agents and other law enforcement officers, who capture and deport these dangerous gang members, merely a "revolving door" process whereby the gang-bangers can easily re-enter our country.

It is fundamental, therefore, to appropriately secure our nation's borders. The proper securing of our country's borders is not some type of political issue; it is, rather, a top-priority national security matter, plain and simple. A secure and safe border is an absolute necessity to prevent gang members, human smugglers, drug suppliers and even terrorists from entering the United States.

In addition to correctly securing our borders, we must have assertive interior law enforcement actions targeting criminal aliens, such as these ruthless gang-bangers and other violent individuals.

Only by having a multifaceted, sophisticated and robust law enforcement approach to these problems can we, as a nation, try to mitigate this rapidly increasing and fast-moving issue of violent international gangs.

(Note: If you manufacture or distribute any Security, Safety, Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Defense or Crime Prevention related products, please send information on your product line for possible future reference in this column to: CrimePrevention123@yahoo.com.)

Copyright 2006 by Bruce Mandelblit

"Staying Safe" with Bruce Mandelblit is a regular column for the readers of NewsMax.com and NewsMax.com Magazine.

Bruce welcomes your thoughts. His e-mail address is: CrimePrevention123@yahoo.com.

Bruce is a nationally known security journalist, as well as a recently retired, highly decorated reserve Law Enforcement Officer.

Bruce writes Staying Safe, a weekly syndicated column covering the topics of security, safety and crime prevention.

Bruce was commissioned as a Kentucky Colonel – the state's highest honor – for his public service.

This column is provided for general information purposes only. Please check with your local law enforcement agency and legal professional for information specific to you and your jurisdiction.

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While politicians and special interest groups take their time debating possible "immigration reform" and "border fences," brutal lawbreakers are entering our country each and every day, including hardcore gang members. Thousands upon thousands of criminal alien gang...
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