A new report from the Center for Immigration Studies has determined that the Obama administration released 68,000 illegal aliens with criminal convictions in 2013. Additionally, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents reported 722,000 encounters with illegal aliens in 2013, but only followed through with immigration charges for 195,000 of them. The conclusions are based on data from ICE's 2013 year-end "Weekly Departures and Detention Report."
According to ICE personnel who spoke with the report's author, Jessica Vaughan, the majority of the releases occurred because of current administration policies that shield most illegal aliens from enforcement. According to the administration, enforcement is limited to individuals who have been convicted of a serious criminal offense, those apprehended in the act of crossing the border, those who have been previously deported, and fugitives from the law.
The report's full findings 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, with the largest decline in the Atlanta field office, which covers Georgia and the Carolinas.
- 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. This suggests the need for more detention capacity, so ICE can avoid releasing so many deportable criminal aliens.
According to the organization Texas Border Volunteers, many criminals aren’t being identified at the border because, to the extent that any criminal background are conducted, aliens are run through the National Criminal Information Center and other law enforcement databases that only reveal criminal activity that occurred in the United States, not from an alien’s home country.
In response to the news of the Administration's mass release of criminal aliens, Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., said “The preponderance of the evidence demonstrates that immigration enforcement in America has collapsed. Even those with criminal convictions are being released...American citizens have a legal and moral right to the protections our immigration laws afford—at the border, the interior and the workplace. The Administration has stripped these protections and adopted a government policy that encourages new arrivals to enter illegally or overstay visas by advertising immunity from future enforcement."
For the full report, see the Center for Immigration Studies.
Updated: Thu, Jun 15th 2017 @ 3:22pm EDT