National Security

More Criminal Aliens Released by ICE

All while they rue it being "bandied about as a political football."

Arnold Ahlert · May 2, 2016

In the continuance of an abhorrent policy, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released another 19,723 criminal aliens from custody in 2015. This eminently deportable group had a combined total of 64,197 convictions, including 208 for murder, 1,286 for sexual offenses, and 216 for kidnapping. But don’t worry; it gets worse.

In a statement made to the Atlanta Journal Constitution in March, ICE — which released 36,007 criminal aliens from its custody in 2013, and another 30,558 criminal aliens in 2014 — insisted its “enhanced oversight for custody determinations announced early in 2015” precipitated last year’s lower release total. Jessica Vaughn, Director of Policy Studies for the Center for Immigration Studies’ (CIS), revealed that’s because ICE “made 119,772 arrests, or just half the number of arrests made in 2013 (232,287).”

Why did ICE cut back on arrests? “Under the strict enforcement rules implemented as part of President Obama’s executive actions announced in 2014, ICE officers are forced to ignore a large share of the criminal aliens they identify in jails or who are referred by local law enforcement agencies,” Vaughn explains.

Nonetheless in a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee meeting last Thursday, ICE Director Sarah Saldana defended her agency, still insisting the release totals were an improvement, and ruing that they were being politically manipulated. “I can’t tell you how disheartening it is to hear a very important issue being bandied about as a political football,” Saldana said. “I would ask we focus on solutions rather than political banter.”

Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) put what ICE is doing in the proper perspective: “These are people that were here illegally, got caught committing a crime, were convicted of that crime and instead of deporting them, they were just released back out in the United States of America.”

And once they were just released, many of these criminal aliens committed additional crimes, including 124 charged with homicide.

Such recidivism is not only unsurprising, but virtually guaranteed. Bureau of Justice statistics reveal a whopping 76.9% of drug offenders, 73.6% of public order offenders, and 71.3% of violent offenders were re-arrested for a new crime within five years of their release.

Even more maddening is why they are released. A majority are freed to comply with federal court rulings or bond decisions made by immigration judges. Many of those decisions are engendered by a 2001 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Zadvydas vs. Davis that prohibited ICE from detaining anyone ordered to be deported longer than six months, if it becomes apparent they won’t be removed in the “reasonably foreseeable future.”

The primary reason many aren’t removed? Their home countries refuse to take them back, or delay issuing them travel documents for months. ICE compiled a list of “uncooperative” countries in that regard. They include Afghanistan, Algeria, Burundi, Cape Verde, China, Cuba, Eritrea, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, India, Iran, Iraq, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan and Zimbabwe. One suspects such countries would be far more “cooperative” if their refusal to accommodate U.S. deportations were directly tied to the foreign aid they receive. But such thinking would require an administration attuned to preserving American interests, not an Obama administration and a Democrat Party determined to undermine them.

At last Thursday’s hearing, Saldana also claimed ICE had no choice about who they released. Chaffetz wasn’t buying it, and accused the agency of data manipulation that essentially amounted to a get-out-of-jail free card. “There is a whole list of categories there that are a harm to public safety, including those that commit homicide, that you went ahead and released anyway,” he said. “And so that law is crystal clear. You are making these discretionary choices and released these people out in the public and they are committing more crimes.”

And like those illegals detained during the border surges in recent years, these convicted criminal aliens have been released into virtually every state and territory in America. Add this insidious component to Obama’s executive actions that further restrict removal to narrow classes of aliens who remain prioritized for arrest, and it becomes clear that millions of deportable criminals will remain free to roam about the nation — likely indefinitely.

But as they say in tacky product pitches, wait, there’s more. This year’s southwest border surge is on pace to set a new record, as more than 32,000 family members were apprehended during the first six months of the fiscal year, double the rate of 2015. “They’re not dissuaded from coming by the fear of being detained and sent back — they know that they’re still going to be released,” Vaughn stated, adding that many of the newcomers have learned to “game” the system. That would be a system of lax enforcement, massive immigration court backlogs, and a political class in Washington willing to abide a de facto invasion for cheap votes and cheap labor demanded by their respective constituencies.

When does it all come crashing down? “The need to close America’s porous southern border was given greater urgency this week after reports that an ISIS suspect plotted to escort operatives across the border and drug cartels are helping ISIS set up a base near El Paso, Texas,” reports Investor’s Business Daily. “Federal prosecutors say a 21-year-old Somali-American planned to open up routes to the U.S. through Mexico so ISIS terrorists based in Syria could penetrate the U.S. border and attack American cities.”

It’s painful even to say so, but it will probably require an actual attack and a horrific level of casualties before anything meaningful is done. And even if it is proven our porous border is directly responsible for the carnage, the usual suspects will be out in force, decrying nativism and Islamophobia, assuring us such “lone wolf” attacks are an anomaly, echoing the assertion made by DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson that “our borders are not open to illegal migration,” and assuring us “comprehensive immigration reform” and a “pathway to citizenship” for millions of illegals “living in the shadows” is the only way to mitigate the problem.

On Apr. 19, Laura Wilkerson, whose teenage son, Josh, was tortured and murdered by an illegal, testified before the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security, excoriating them for their calculated hypocrisy. “I see this American government scrambling over themselves to pretend to care about American families,” she stated. “And instead, you give every bit of America to people who have broken our laws on how to enter this country, then on to break other laws. You talked about fear — illegals are afraid to come out of the shadows. You want to know what fear is? When somebody reaches into your house and grabs your littlest kid and tortures them. You’re afraid of everything for a long time.”

Last Wednesday, it was revealed an ostensibly fearful Secret Service will raise the height of the fence surrounding the White House by five feet — to deter intruders. Fences for me, but not for thee, anyone?

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