ICE has locked down a Twitter account that was used to alert the public to illegal immigrants released by sanctuary cities.
@ICEAlerts is now “protected,” meaning only those who had already been following the account can see the target names. Users also can’t retweet the old posts, said Jon Feere, a former senior employee at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement under President Trump.
ICE called buttoning up the account a routine update to “its many communications tools to ensure accurate information consistent with current priorities.
“As with similar accounts associated with prior administrations’ policies, @ICEalerts was archived as it was no longer being maintained,” the agency said.
Mr. Feere said the new Biden administration doesn’t want people to know what kinds of criminals it’s no longer actively seeking to deport.
“It seems the Biden Admin locked @ICEAlerts because if you were to report the location of one of these dangerous aliens to ICE, it would become too obvious that these assaulters, drug dealers, thieves, and drunk drivers are now allowed to go free under Biden’s policies,” Mr. Feere said in a series of tweets.
The account was started in 2013, under President Obama, when Mr. Biden was vice president.
But Mr. Biden has broken with his former boss, saying Mr. Obama oversaw too many deportations during their time in office.
In the final months of the Trump administration the account had been posting at a pace of a notice a day of illegal immigrants released under sanctuary-city policies.
The final postings went up Jan. 21, and the account hasn’t listed anyone since.
The last alert was on Ali Morit, a citizen of Yemen, who ICE said was released by the New York Police Department despite charges of assault and acting in a manner to injure a juvenile. He had previously been deported once.
Mr. Feere posted a number of the alerts himself, so they can be retweeted from his account — though given ICE’s new non-deportation rules, it’s not clear what ICE would do if someone were to report one of the people.
Among them were three Mexican men with DUI charges on their records. They had been deported a combined 23 times before, and were sought by ICE during the Trump years, but had been released by California jurisdictions in defiance of ICE requests.
In both the Obama and Trump administrations, ICE’s position was that sanctuary jurisdictions were a danger, shielding people with criminal records from being turned over for deportation.
When those targets were released into communities, it meant teams of ICE officers had to go out into the streets to make arrests, creating more dangerous situations for all sides involved.
“When jurisdictions fail to honor an ICE detainer, it risks both public and officer safety, and unnecessarily expends ICE’s already-limited resources,” the ICE Alerts account said on each notice it posted.
Mr. Feere said ICE also used to post “Most Wanted Wednesday” tweets aimed at seeking information on high public safety threats. Those too have been scratched, Mr. Feere said.
“The Biden Admin is apparently not too interested in public safety,” he tweeted.
ICE also has in the past paid for billboards to highlight releases from local communities under sanctuary policies.
Billboards went up in Pennsylvania and North Carolina pointing to migrants with criminal records who were released by local authorities into those communities.
The agency hasn’t said what its plans are for those billboards in the future.