DHS released 30,000 criminal aliens
Federal immigration officers released another 30,000 immigrants with criminal records last year, following the 36,000 it released in 2013, the government announced Wednesday — though it promised to take steps to cut down on the problem.
Overall, ICE released 30,558 criminal aliens in fiscal year 2014, which is down from the 36,007 criminals released a year before.
The 2013 releases prompted an outcry, and the latest news that the releases continue is likely to renew the calls for ICE to get a handle on its actions.
ICE said it had little discretion over most of the criminals it released. The agency said that under a previous court decision, immigrants whose home countries won’t take them back cannot be held indefinitely, so they have to be released after a period of time.
Republicans in Congress have proposed rewriting the law to allow for longer detention of serious criminals, and they have called on the Obama administration to use existing powers to deny visas to leaders of countries that refuse to take their citizens back.
But the administration has declined to take those steps.
ICE didn’t release a breakdown of criminal offenses of the new 30,000 on Wednesday, but among the 36,000 released in 2013 were 193 homicide convictions, 426 sexual assault convictions, 303 kidnapping convictions and 16,070 convictions for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Jessica Vaughan, policy director at the Center for Immigration Studies, which exposed the first batch of 36,000 releases, said Wednesday that giving supervisors more review of each case isn’t a solution, it’s the root of the problem.
“In fact, it’s the supervisors who are ordering the releases, and the intent of the supervision is to make sure that officers in the field are not detaining people — not the other way around,” she said. “The problem is most definitely the policies, not the officers.
Ms. Vaughan said one reason for the drop from 36,000 to about 30,000 is because immigration agents are arresting and detaining fewer aliens in the first place, thanks to President Obama’s new immigration plans.
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