Report: ICE Releases 36K Convicted Criminals Awaiting Deportation

by Andrew Johnson

The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement released nearly 40,000 convicted criminal aliens who were awaiting the outcome of deportation proceedings while in detention, according to a recent report by the Center for Immigration Studies.

The criminals’ infractions include convictions for drunk or drugged driving, aggravated assault, flight escape, dangerous drugs, vehicle theft, kidnapping, sexual assault, and homicide. Overall, the 36,007 criminals released in 2013 had about 88,000 total convictions.

CIS found that a “vast majority” of these releases were done on a discretionary basis, or in violation of some provisions of immigration law. According to information obtained by CIS, less than 3,000 of the releases were in accordance with a 2001 Supreme Court ruling requiring the release of certain detainees whose countries of origin won’t accept them back; others were released for reasons including getting parole, for cooperating with ICE and other law enforcement, or for a compelling public interest.

These findings “call into question” the administration’s enforcement of current or future immigration policy, the research organization said in a statement:

The revelation that 36,007 criminal aliens were released from ICE custody in 2013, an average of nearly 100 per day, is shocking, and could further shake public faith in the effectiveness of current immigration enforcement policies. This information is sure to raise concerns that, despite professions of a focus on removal of criminal aliens, Obama administration policies frequently have allowed political considerations to trump public safety factors and, as a result, aliens with serious criminal convictions have been allowed to return to the streets instead of being removed to their home countries.

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