The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, which is responsible for enforcing U.S. immigration laws inside the country, has released more than 8,000 illegal aliens convicted of crimes onto the streets of the United States since fiscal 2009, according to ICE data released by House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith (R.-Texas).
Citing these statistics, Smith has introduced legislation that would allow Homeland Security’s ICE to keep criminal illegal aliens in custody longer than the current six-month period established by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The “Keep Our Communities Safe Act” is “desperately needed,” Smith said at a hearing about the bill on May 24 because of two high court rulings that said immigrants–and later illegal immigrants–could not be detained for more than six months, if efforts to return the immigrant to his or her home country failed.
The result, Smith said, are thousands of criminal illegal immigrants being released in the United States.
Smith said the IG found that nearly 134,000 immigrants with final orders of removal instead had been released into U.S. communities from 2001 to 2004. The IG report also found that these illegal immigrants were unlikely to ever be repatriated because of the unwillingness of their home country to provide necessary travel documents.
The 2006 report also says: “Currently, (Detention and Removal Operations) is unable to ensure the departure from the U.S. of all removable aliens. Of the 774,112 illegal aliens apprehended during the past three years, 280,987 (36%) were released largely due to a lack of personnel, bed space, and funding needed to detain illegal aliens while their immigration status is being adjudicated. This presents significant risks due to the inability of Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) and ICE to verify the identity, country-of-origin, and terrorist or criminal affiliation of many of the aliens being released.”
The ICE statistics show that the agency released 3,847 convicted criminal aliens in 2009; 3,882 in 2010; and 1,012 so far in 2011.
The data also show the citizenship country of the convicted criminal and non-criminal illegal immigrant. For example, in FY2009, 74 convicted criminal illegal immigrants from Somalia were released in the United States. Somalia is one of the 10 countries the U.S. government has designated “countries of interest” because of believed ties to terrorism.
Another 79 convicted criminal illegal immigrants from Somalia were released in 2010, according to the data.
According to the ICE spreadsheet, 36 convicted criminal illegal immigrants from the Sudan were released. Sudan is one of four countries the U.S. State Department considers a state sponsor of terror.