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Thread: 20,000 illegals with criminal convictions released into U.S. communities in 2015

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  1. #1
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    May 2006

    20,000 illegals with criminal convictions released into U.S. communities in 2015

    By Stephen Dinan - The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 27, 2016

    Homeland Security has made some gains in detaining criminal aliens but still released into the community nearly 20,000 immigrants last year who'd already been convicted of crimes — including hundreds charges with sexual assault, kidnapping or homicide — according to figures sent to Congress this week.

    Between them the aliens notched a total of 64,000 crimes, including 12,307 drunken driving convictions, 1,728 cases of assault, 216 kidnappings and more than 200 homicide or manslaughter convictions, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) told the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform ahead of a hearing Thursday.

    "These are not just numbers. These are individuals in this country illegally who were arrested, prosecuted and convicted. But instead of removing these criminals, ICE put them back on American streets," said Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz.

    One of those released by ICE in 2015, Haitian illegal immigrant Jean Jacques, would go on to kill a young woman in Connecticut just months later, stabbing Casey Chadwick to death. Her mother, Wendy Hartling, will testify to the Oversight Committee alongside relatives of other victims of illegal immigrants' crimes.

    Jacques had previously served time for attempted murder and was supposed to have been deported after that. But ICE officials said he wouldn't produce documents proving his identity, and Haiti refused to accept him without those documents. ICE said it had to release him instead.

    Those kinds of releases have been a black eye for the administration in recent years, with Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and ICE Director Sarah R. Saldana saying they need to do a better job of keeping serious criminals in custody as they await deportation.

    And they have made some strides, reducing the number of criminal aliens released from 36,007 in 2013 to 30,558 in 2014, and then cutting the number by more than 10,000 last year.

    About half of those released in 2015 were ordered set free on bond by immigration judges — folks over whom ICE says it has no control. Another 2,000 were released to comply with a 2001 Supreme Court decision putting a six-month cap on how long immigrants can be held in detention absent extenuating circumstances.

    "The release of aliens on bond is clearly provided for by statute, and it would not be permissible for DHS to categorically prohibit the release of certain aliens who are not subject to mandatory detention under [the Immigration and Nationality Act], and who do not pose a risk to public safety or a flight risk," ICE told the Oversight Committee in a memo laying out the numbers.

    In 89 other cases, the administration couldn't arrange travel documents to ship someone back home in time — such as in the case of Jacques.

    But in more than 7,000 cases, ICE said the releases were done at its own discretion. Those are the cases that most irk lawmakers, who wonder why anyone with a criminal conviction on his or her record is allowed to walk back into the community.

    ICE insists it still takes steps to keep tabs on the criminals it releases, including using electronic monitoring or requiring them to regularly check in with immigration officers to make sure they're keeping their noses clean.

    Immigrant rights advocates say immigrants break the law at a lower rate than the native-born, and accuse Republicans of tarring the whole community for the actions of a few.

    Those who favor a crackdown, however, say it's impossible to excuse illegal immigrants who commit crimes, since, if the government did its job, they never would have been in the country to commit those crimes in the first place.

    The issue exploded onto front pages last summer with the death of Kathryn Steinle, who was shot while walking the San Francisco waterfront with her father. The illegal immigrant charged with her killing had been repeatedly deported but had snuck back into the U.S. and was free under San Francisco's sanctuary city policy.

    Then, earlier this year, Sarah Root, a 21-year-old woman from Iowa, was killed in Omaha, Nebraska, and police blamed an illegal immigrant they said was drag racing while drunk. Police tried to get ICE to hold the man, Eswin Mejia, but agents refused to pick him up, and he has now skipped out on his bond and is a fugitive.

    ICE has struggled to explain that incident, with the agency first saying it was following President Obama's policies. More recently, Ms. Saldana said that wasn't true and that agents in the field made a mistake.

    Mr. Mejia entered the U.S. as part of the surge of illegal immigrant children who were caught at the border over the last few years and who, under Obama administration policies, were sent to live with relatives rather than quickly deported.

    In Mr. Mejia's case, he was placed with his brother, also an illegal immigrant, who was already here.

    In a letter to administration officials this week, senators demanded to know what steps the government takes to make sure it's placing children with proper custodians, and whether social workers follow up to make sure the children are getting the right care.

    Scott Root, the young woman's father, is scheduled to testify to the Oversight Committee on Thursday alongside Ms. Hartling and Ms. Saldana.

    "The common thread among the stories we are going to hear today is that each of them was preventable," Mr. Chaffetz said in the prepared statement he will deliver at the hearing. "If ICE had only followed the law, it is highly likely these witnesses would not be sitting here today grieving the loss of a loved one."
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Beezer's Avatar
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    Apr 2016
    This needs to be turned into a military operation. Load them up on C130s and deport all of them. Those planes can pack a lot of people in them.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member European Knight's Avatar
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    May 2015
    ICE under fire for releasing thousands of illegal immigrants with rap sheets

    Published April 28, 2016

    The Obama administration took fire at a House hearing Thursday for releasing back into society thousands of illegal immigrants who had committed crimes on U.S. soil – including those behind more than 200 murders.

    “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,” House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, said.

    According to a new report from the Center for Immigration Studies, Immigration and Customs Enforcement in 2015 “freed 19,723 criminal aliens, who had a total of 64,197 convictions among them.”

    This included “8,234 violent convictions and 208 homicide convictions.”

    ICE Director Sarah Saldana defended her agency, even characterizing the statistics as an improvement while claiming 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.”

    Saldana described the number of releases in 2015 as an improvement over prior years. The agency also made modest gains in detaining illegal immigrants but still released nearly 20,000 criminal offenders last year who had been convicted of crimes ranging from arson to embezzlement to sexual assault, according to the CIS report.

    The report also said dozens of freed criminals were later charged with homicide as well. Among the murders detailed was that of Grant Ronnebeck, an Arizona convenience store clerk. He allegedly was killed over a pack of cigarettes by an illegal immigrant -- who had been facing deportation proceedings following a burglary charge, but was released on bond.

    And more recently, Iowa woman Sarah Root was killed in January, allegedly by an illegal immigrant drunk driver. The suspect was later bailed out and disappeared.

    Though the total number of 2015 releases is lower compared to the past two years, the rate of releases is about the same, according to the report. Of the crimes on record, 12,307 involved drunk-driving convictions; 1,728 were cases of assault; and 216 were kidnapping cases.

    Saldana also pushed back strongly on accusations from Chaffetz that ICE had a choice when releasing many of the immigrants with criminal convictions.

    “To sit there and say that the proud women and men of law enforcement and ICE are choosing to release criminals is absolutely unforgiveable,” she said. “They do not go around trying to put criminals on the streets.”

    Chaffetz, though, accused ICE of manipulating the data and knowingly giving criminals 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.”

    Part of the problem, though, is the level of cooperation from other countries.

    Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney focused specifically on the case of 41-year-old Jean Jacques, a Haitian national convicted in the June 2015 killing of Connecticut resident Casey Chadwick. Jacques had a previous attempted murder conviction and should have been deported, but Haiti would not take him back.

    “This is such an injustice,” Maloney said. “That they will not abide by their treaty … that they won’t take their felon back.”

    There was also a contentious exchange between Saldana and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, over the fact that agency discretion -- as opposed to court orders -- prompted many of the releases.

    “You just decided, we’re not going to follow the law, we’re going to release them,” Jordan said.

    Saldana maintained she follows the law and the illegal immigrants who were released were freed only after “careful analysis.”

    “I’m guessing the families here would disagree with your careful analysis,” he said.

    Saldana responded, “We are humans and we do fall short sometimes.”

    Fox News' Kara Rowland contributed to this report.

    ICE under fire for releasing thousands of illegal immigrants with rap sheets

  4. #4
    Senior Member European Knight's Avatar
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    May 2015
    Illegal immigrant criminals released into U.S. despite thousands of vacant detention beds

    A secured entryway is seen at the Karnes County Residential Center in Karnes City, Texas. (Associated Press) more >

    By Stephen Dinan - The Washington Times - Thursday, April 28, 2016

    Homeland Security is leaving thousands of detention beds empty even as it voluntarily releases thousands of murderers, kidnappers and other criminals, the chief of deportations admitted to Congress on Thursday as she faced families of those killed by freed illegal immigrant convicts.

    “We strive for perfect, but we are human and we fall short sometimes,” Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Sarah R. Saldana told the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

    Ms. Saldana said the agency now has 2,000 beds vacant out of the 34,000 it is supposed to have available on the average day.

    Government statistics show that in 2015, ICE averaged 28,168 detainees — meaning some 5,800 beds left unused, even as the agency released dangerous convicts back into the community to await the outcomes of their immigration proceedings.

    One of those people released last year was Jean Jacques, a Haitian who served time for attempted murder and whom ICE tried to deport, but whom Haiti refused to take back. ICE released him, and he would go on to stab a young woman, Casey Chadwick, in her Connecticut apartment.

    “If ICE and Homeland Security had done their job, Casey would not have died,” her mother, Wendy Hartling, told lawmakers just minutes after Ms. Saldana testified.

    Both Democrats and Republicans were inclined to agree, demanding answers about why officials let Haiti stymie Jacques’ deportation last year.

    Ms. Saldana blamed the State Department, saying it’s that agency’s call on how much pressure to use on other governments. But lawmakers weren’t satisfied, pointing to the law that says it’s up to the immigration service to start the process by reporting other countries’ bad behavior.

    Ms. Saldana insisted she’s made those reports, but couldn’t remember which countries she’d cited. Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz demanded she provide all of those letters within a week — and he warned her not to try to hide behind secrecy.

    “Let’s know and understand which countries are not taking back the criminals that came here illegally,” he said.

    In 2015 ICE released 19,723 criminals back into communities while they were awaiting their immigration trials.

    Some 10,175 of those were released on bond by an immigration judge — Ms. Saldana couldn’t say how often her officers object to that bond — and 2,166 others were released because they’d been held the maximum amount of time allowed under a 2001 Supreme Court ruling.

    But while 89 criminals were released because their countries wouldn’t take them back — the situation Jacques was in — another 7,293 were released at ICE’s own discretion. It’s that last category that has Congressfurious, particularly with more than 5,800 detention beds that went empty last year.

    “We just keep pouring more and more money into your agency, and we keep getting less and less,” Rep. John J. Duncan Jr., Tennessee Republican, told Ms. Saldana. “Are you embarrassed in any way?”

    Ms. Saldana blamed Congress, saying the law only requires ICE to hold some criminals. She said if lawmakers want her to detain all murderers, they’ll need to write it into the law.

    Story Continues →

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