Immigration officials knowingly released dozens of murderers and thousands of drunken drivers back into the U.S. in 2013, according to Obama administration statistics that could undercut the president’s argument that he is trying to focus on the most serious criminals in his immigration enforcement.
Among the 36,000 immigrants whom U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement released from custody last year there were 116 with convictions for homicide, 43 for negligent manslaughter, 14 for voluntary manslaughter and one with a conviction classified by ICE as “homicide-willful kill-public official-gun.”
The immigrants were in deportation proceedings, meaning ICE was trying to remove them from the country and could have held them in detention but released them anyway, according to the Center for Immigration Studies, which published the numbers Monday. The Washington Times also obtained the data.
“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,” said Rep. Lamar Smith, Texas Republican. “The administration’s actions are outrageous. They willfully and knowingly put the interests of criminal immigrants before the safety and security of the American people.”
The data raised thorny questions about how the government decides which immigrants to detain and which it will release as they await court hearings and final action on deportation.
“These criminals should be locked up, not roaming our streets,” the lawmakers said.
ICE has told Congress it doesn’t need to hold as many immigrants in detention. In its budget request this year, ICE asked that Congress fund slightly more than 30,500 detention beds a day, down from the 34,000 set in current law.
“This funding level of beds will allow ICE to detain the current mandatory population, as well as the higher-risk, non-mandatory detainees,” ICE Deputy Director Daniel Ragsdale testified in March.
Ms. Vaughan said that rings hollow if the administration is releasing murderers and other serious criminals even with 34,000 detention beds.
The 36,007 criminal aliens counted in the data had more than 87,000 convictions among them: 15,635 for drunken driving, 9,187 for what ICE labeled “dangerous drugs,” 2,691 for assault, 1,724 for weapons offenses and 303 for “flight escape” — a category that would seem to make them bad candidates for release.
Officials later said it wasn’t the sequester, but rather the regular budget process that caused them to have to release the immigrants. They said they had been running above the 34,000 detention level for too long and would have had to cut detention to average out the numbers.
Full article: Feds released hundreds of immigrant murderers, drunk drivers, sex-crimes convicts (Washington Times)