Attorney General Fitch joined a coalition of 18 state attorneys general in urging President Biden, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement Acting Director Johnson, to reverse the Biden Administration’s cancellation of Operation Talon, a nationwide ICE operation that focuses on removing convicted sex offenders illegally in the United States.

“Human trafficking and rape at the border are only part of the intensifying nationwide crisis of human trafficking, commercial sexual exploitation, and forced prostitution of minors,” said Attorney General Lynn Fitch. “By cancelling Operation Talon, the White House is encouraging sexual predators to seek illegal entry into the United States and ensuring these predators will exploit more victims in the process. I signed on to this letter to send a strong message. Sexual predators are not welcome in Mississippi, and they are not welcome in United States of America.”

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 particularly plague the immigrant and migrant communities, especially at the border. The letter, citing the highly reputable 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.” In addition to Mississippi, state attorneys general from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia also signed on to the letter.

Press Release

2/19/2021