As border crisis grows, arrests of convicted sex offenders soar

Del Rio Sector Border Patrol saw 3,166% spike in arrests of convicted sex predators in fiscal 2021, including 10 offenders arrested in the U.S. illegally just between May 17 and May 24.
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Patch on Border Patrol agent's uniform
Patch on Border Patrol agent's uniform
(Scott Eisen/Getty Images)

During the brief period from May 17 to May 24 Del Rio Sector Border Patrol agents arrested 10 sex offenders who had illegally entered the U.S., a poignant sign the migrant surge at the border has come with a criminal consequence.

According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Del Rio Sector agents have arrested a whopping 95 previously convicted sex offenders in fiscal 2021 which began last October 1, a staggering 3,166% spike compared to the same period the prior fiscal year.

Authorities on May 24 apprehended two Mexicans and records checks showed that "one individual had a felony conviction for lewd and lascivious molestation," while the other "had a felony conviction for lewd and lascivious acts with a child." 

The agency reported that during the time span from May 17 through May 23, "agents arrested Mexican nationals with felony convictions including forcible sexual abuse, sexual assault of a child under 14, sexual assault of a child, sexual assault, sexual conduct with a person under 13 and a registered sexual offender. Agents also arrested two Honduran nationals with felony convictions for statutory rape, and second-degree sexual assault of a child."

The Washington Post earlier this year said that according to emails U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials had canceled Operation Talon, an operation that had been planned during the waning weeks of the Trump administration to go after sex offenders subject to deportation.

"A senior ICE official said the Biden administration had nothing to do with that decision," the Post reported. "Speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal matters, the official said they had not heard about the operation, but that it was possible that career staffers had planned it and set it aside while awaiting new instructions from the Biden team," the outlet said.

Reuters fact check article later reported that a Department of Homeland Security official said that Operation Talon was postponed, not nixed, and that the choice was made by operator-level officers, not by the Biden political appointees or DHS leaders. The person with DHS indicated that Operation Talon is a portion of the bigger Operation SOAR ("Sex Offender Alien Removal") that was an ongoing effort.

According to a USA Today fact check piece, it is not clear if Operation Talon was ever initiated.

More than a dozen state attorneys general signed a February letter to President Biden, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Acting ICE Director Tae Johnson, calling for Operation Talon to be reinstated.

"We understand that ICE may have canceled Operation Talon in response to the administration’s January 20, 2021 memo to the Department of Homeland Security calling for a stay of nearly all interior immigration enforcement," the letter said. "If so, this outcome demonstrates the deficiencies of a laissez-faire approach to the humanitarian crisis at our border, and within our borders.

"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."