Report: Obama Administration Released 68,000 Convicted Criminal Aliens Last Year

Caroline May, Daily Caller, March 31, 2014

The Obama administration is threatening public safety by deliberately hampering immigration law and releasing aliens with criminal records, according to a new review of internal Immigration and Customs Enforcement data.

A Center for Immigration Studies report to be released Monday and obtained in advance by The Daily Caller, found that last year ICE reported nearly 722,000 encounters with illegal or criminal immigrants. But ICE officers filed immigration charges against less than 195,000 aliens.

“According to ICE personnel, the vast gap between the number of encounters reported and the number of aliens put on the path to removal exists because officers are not permitted to file charges against aliens who do not fall into the administration’s narrowly defined criteria for enforcement, regardless of the criminal charges or the circumstances in which the alien was identified,” the report, authored by CIS director of policy studies Jessica Vaughan, reads.

Since June 2011, when the first of the Obama administration’s “prosecutorial discretion” policies were put in place, the report adds, interior ICE arrests have declined by 40 percent.

{snip}

In 2013 some 68,000 criminal aliens were released–or 35 percent of all criminal aliens ICE reported encountering, according to the report. {snip}

“These figures suggest that despite claims of a focus on public safety, the administration’s prosecutorial discretion criteria are allowing factors such as family relationships, political considerations, or attention from advocacy groups to trump criminal convictions as a factor leading to deportation,” the report reads.

{snip}

According to Vaughan, Congress should initiate an official look into the impact of the administration’s prosecutorial discretion policies.

“The Obama administration’s deliberate obstruction of immigration enforcement, in which tens of thousands of criminal aliens are released instead of removed, is threatening the well-being of American communities,” she said.

{snip}

Other key findings in the review include:

  • In 2013, ICE charged only 195,000, or 25 percent, out of 722,000 potentially deportable aliens they encountered. Most of these aliens came to ICE’s attention after incarceration for a local arrest.
  • ICE released 68,000 criminal aliens in 2013, or 35 percent of the criminal aliens encountered by officers. The vast majority of these releases occurred because of the Obama administration’s prosecutorial discretion policies, not because the aliens were not deportable.
  • ICE targeted 28 percent fewer aliens for deportation from the interior in 2013 than in 2012, despite sustained high numbers of encounters in the Criminal Alien and Secure Communities programs.
  • Every ICE field office but one reported a decline in interior enforcement activity.
  • ICE reports that there are more than 870,000 aliens on its docket who have been ordered removed, but who remain in defiance of the law.
  • Under current policies, an alien’s family relationships, political considerations, attention from advocacy groups, and other factors not related to public safety can trump even serious criminal convictions and result in the termination of a deportation case.
  • Less than 2 percent of ICE’s caseload was in detention at the end of fiscal year 2013. About three-fourths of the aliens ICE detained in 2013 had criminal and/or immigration convictions so serious that the detention was required by statute.

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