Arnold Ahlert / Oct. 24, 2014

Releasing Criminally Convicted Illegals Onto Our Streets

Killers and sexual predators let loose in America.

In a revelation that will surprise almost no one at this point, the Obama administration has been caught in another lie. Records obtained by USA Today contradict the administration’s assertions the 2,228 people freed from immigration jails in 2013 only included those with minor criminal records. Instead, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials released a number of illegal aliens facing serious criminal charges that include “kidnapping, sexual assault, drug trafficking and homicide,” the paper reports.

Despite last year’s furor surrounding the release, the administration continued to insist that only “low-risk offenders who do not have serious criminal records,” had been set free. That statement was part of the hundreds of emails and spreadsheets obtained by the newspaper showing that while two-thirds of those released had no criminal records, several had significant criminal records.

These realities blatantly contradict testimony by then-ICE Director John Morton before the House Judiciary Committee on March 19, 2013. Morton assured the Committee there were “no mass releases of dangerous criminals underway or any planned for the future, just efforts to live within our budget.” He also had the following exchange with Rep. J. Randy Forbes (R-VA):

Forbes: Let me ask you this question. On the aggravated felonies that you talked about, I am looking at the list here, and I am just running through a couple of them. But no one on that list was charged or convicted with murder, rape, or sexual abuse of a minor, were they?

Morton: They were not.

USA Today, which obtained the ICE data via a Freedom of Information Act request, reveals the fraudulence of Morton’s claims, noting there was “one person in Texas charged with aggravated kidnapping and sexually assaulting a child, as well as others charged with armed assaults or assaulting police officers,” the paper states. “Another immigrant released from Miami had been charged with conspiracy to commit homicide. Two detainees from Boston had been charged with aggravated assault using a weapon.”

Lying aside, the reference to living within ICE’s budget is a key component of the discussion. Morton, the Obama administration, Democrats, and their media cheerleaders would all like Americans to believe the “draconian” budget cuts engendered by sequestration left the agency no other choice. Those “cuts” represented just over 2 percent of the 2013 budget, while federal spending in 2013 was $15 billion higher than in 2012.

Nonetheless, the Obama administration sought to portray the sequester as the ultimate undoing of American’s massive welfare state. Thus a massive scare campaign was promoted, including warnings from Obama that thousands of layoffs would ensue, airport delays would be massive, hundreds of thousands of Americans would lose access to healthcare, meat would not be properly inspected, federal prosecutors would have to close cases allowing criminals to go free, immigration control would be forced to allow more illegal aliens to enter the country – and ICE would be forced to undertake “a mass release of immigrants," warned the New York Times.

Thus it was completely unsurprising that USA Today would frame the ICE's unconscionable felon release program as one engendered by an agency faced with "steep, across-the-government spending cuts in February 2013.” ICE spokeswoman Gillian Christensen maintained the ongoing charade, insisting that “discretionary releases made by ICE were of low-level offenders. However, the releases involving individuals with more significant criminal histories were, by and large, dictated by special circumstances outside of the agency’s control.”

Those special circumstances were not explained.

The former head of ICE’s detention operation, Gary Mead, doubled down as well, insisting there was no deliberate attempt to deceive the public. He claimed the release of the 2,228 detainees happened so quickly ICE managers were unaware of who they freed until they heard about it in the media. “We had been asking for some time whether we would have enough money to sustain the level of detention we had, and we didn’t get an answer,” Mead said. “When we did get an answer, it was that we had to start releasing people today.”

The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Inspector General (IG) also circled the wagons. Despite reporting in August that ICE’s cost-cutting efforts were so rushed and mismanaged the agency never informed then-DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano or the White House of the mishandled detainee release, the IG’s audit ultimately concluded the agency had acted “appropriately” when determining who should be freed.

At the congressional hearing, Morton confirmed that ICE’s blasé attitude regarding illegal alien criminal records started right at the top, telling Rep. Forbes that while he had “reviewed the summaries of all 2,228” he had “not looked at the actual conviction records personally on such a number.” Furthermore, he inadvertently revealed the conclusion reached by the IG was nonsensical: under questioning, he couldn’t explain why the agency had made no preparation whatsoever for the sequester before January 2013, despite the fact that it had been passed in August of 2011.

Morton also revealed something else equally as telling. When asked if he opposed statutory language in the 2012 and 2013 budget requests mandating that ICE maintain at least 34,000 detention beds on a daily basis, Morton acknowledged that President Obama’s budget called for a lower number of 32,800 beds. The Appropriations Committee eventually insisted otherwise, maintaining the 34,000 bed limit. In other words it was Obama himself who sought to hamstring ICE even more than the sequester ostensibly did.

The would be the very same sequester that was Obama’s idea, all denials to the contrary notwithstanding.

Of the 2,228 detainees released, 629 had criminal records, according to Morton’s testimony. Yet he characterized those released as people charged with misdemeanors “or other criminals whose prior conviction did not pose a violent threat to public safety.”

This story is undoubtedly a revelation for many Americans. Unfortunately, it represents the proverbial tip of the iceberg. Last May, the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) released a detailed report revealing that in 2013, ICE freed an eye-popping 36,007 criminal aliens “convicted of hundreds of violent and serious crimes, including homicide, sexual assault, kidnapping, and aggravated assault.” CIS further explained that the “vast majority of these releases from ICE custody were discretionary, not required by law,” and in some cases “apparently contrary to law.”

At the time, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) framed that release in no uncertain terms. "This would be considered the worst prison break in American history, except it was sanctioned by the president and perpetrated by our own immigration officials,“ he declared.

And while the left-leaning USA Today, which referred to the 2,228 released individual as "undocumented immigrants” rather than the illegal aliens that they truly are, provides nothing more than the aforementioned handful of details regarding their criminal records, CIS was far more forthcoming. The 36,007 convicted criminal aliens released accounted for a whopping 88,000 convictions that included 193 for homicide, 436 for sexual assault, 303 for kidnapping, and 1,075 for aggravated assaults. Other offenses apparently considered “non-serious” by ICE included 1,160 stolen vehicle convictions, 9,187 dangerous drug convictions, 16,070 drunk or drugged driving convictions, and 303 flight escape convictions.

Adding insult to injury, CIS further noted that “ICE declined to bring immigration charges in 68,000 cases of criminal aliens they encountered in 2013.”

It is critical to remember the same Obama administration orchestrating this chaos is the one that plans to allow as many as 100,000 Haitians entry in to the United States in 2015 without a visa under its Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program. This “irresponsible overreach of the executive branch’s authority” as Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) characterizes it, will be followed shortly after the 2014 election by the president's promise to grant amnesty to millions of illegals again via executive order, possibly precipitating the most serious constitutional crisis in modern history.

And make no mistake: it is a constitutional crisis wholeheartedly supported by a Democratic Party more than willing to sell out millions of American citizens and legal immigrants in a fevered quest for unassailable power.

 "Well, look, here’s the bottom line,“ said Obama during a recent interview with Al Sharpton. "We’ve got a tough (election) map. A lot of the states that are contested this time are states that I didn’t win. And so some of the candidates there, you know, it is difficult for them to have me in the state because the Republicans will use that to try to fan Republican turn-out. The bottom line is, though, these are all folks who vote with me” (italics mine). Truer words were never spoken, and Americans heading to the voting booth should take them to heart.

Originally published at FrontPage Magazine.

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