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AG Knudsen Calls on Biden Administration to Protect Montana Families, Not Illegal Alien Sex Offenders

HELENA – Montana’s Attorney General Austin Knudsen today called on President Biden and his administration to reverse its 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.

The cancellation of Operation Talon emboldens sexual predators who seek to enter the United States illegally and exacerbates issues of sexual assault and trafficking in Montana. 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.

“Montanans don’t expect much from the Biden administration, but we should be able to expect the federal government to protect our communities and families from illegal alien sex predators,” Attorney General Austin Knudsen said. “This is yet another example of how dangerous and out-of-touch Joe Biden and his administration have been since Day One.”

Knudsen and a coalition of 17 other state attorneys general delivered a letter yesterday to Biden and Department of Homeland Security officials.

“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,” the state attorneys general wrote. “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 Biden administration’s action could also aggravate issues of sexual assault and human smuggling or trafficking in the immigrant community. Three Mexico citizens were sentenced last year for trying to smuggle more than a dozen illegal aliens across the border from Canada into Glacier County, Montana.

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, according to the Polaris Project.

In addition to Montana, state attorneys general from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia also signed on to the letter.