Guam - It's been an ongoing battle with the feds and local leaders in enforcing deportation laws for criminals from the Freely Associated States. And the attorney general has now been asked to determine whether legal action is necessary to help move the matter forward.
It's no secret the frustration local leaders have experienced with dealing with the feds particularly in the case of enforcing statutes in deporting criminals from the Freely Associated States. And after months of exchanges with the federal government, Vice Speaker BJ Cruz is now calling on the attorney general of Guam for some assistance.
"I'm hoping the attorney general can review those cases and see whether or not we can establish our own implementation of the Immigration Act not on our own law but the implementation of it," he said.
In a letter earlier this week, Cruz asks Attorney General Leonardo Rapadas to determine legal action to force the feds to increase deportation actions against FAS criminals detained in Guam. He also requests Rapadas to identify local criminal laws that may impede the deportation process. "In concept I support it, but there are a lot of details that a lot of people are missing," he said.
In reviewing the statutes of how deportation can work, AG Rapadas says his personal experience with local ICE is far different from Cruz's experience with the feds. "They've assisted us and we've been reporting to them to the different aliens and criminal aliens that should fall under their purview and that's happened in fact over the last week or so I was looking at least one defendant on a list and I was looking at the end of the list, it was deported by ICE," he said.
Rapadas meanwhile says he'll review Cruz's request in looking into the extent of Governor Eddie Calvo's Organic Act authority to enforce all laws of the US applicable to Guam in the absence of federal enforcement. The governor's chief policy advisor Arthur Clark says he'll wait to see what comes of the AG's review, saying, "I think he's trying to take the angle that the law exists, the agency exists but he's defining the lack of enforcement as being the lack of will to enforce this as opposed to the lack of presence."
Clark says he can understand Cruz's frustration having sat in those very conversations with the feds who last month stated they would not put this law into effect as it would be "a waste of resources". As for deportation itself, Clark says he supports Cruz's efforts in asking the AG for help. "Again we want to make clear, it's dangerous to paint everyone with the same wide brush, so I want to make clear that our focus was on convicted criminals who are not contributing to our society and actually have been a drain and want to see the law used in that aspect to get some of these felons off of our island and reduce the impact that is having on us," he said.
Cruz says he will seek the assistance of his colleagues in securing the support needed to address US ICE's ongoing disregard of the law and its regulations. Rapadas meanwhile says along with deportation, he also wants to ensure that the voices of the victims of these crimes are heard as well.