The Washington Times obtained new data from House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., that shows 57 percent of the criminal aliens released from detention pending deportation were let go on a discretionary rather than on a mandatory basis. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau considered about 3,700 of the released criminal aliens to be “Level 1” threats – its top priority for deportation – but chose alternatives to detention such as electronic monitoring.
The Administration has claimed that most of its criminal-alien releases were mandatory under the Zadvydas case, where the Supreme Court said that illegal aliens could not be detained more than six months if their home country would not accept repatriation. However, only about eight percent fell into the category in 2014 according the Chairman Goodlatte’s data. The Times reports that the rest of the releases involved cases in which an immigration judge ordered bond or it was not considered a mandatory Zadvydas release despite that fact that ICE could not arrange travel to the alien’s country of origin.
“Put aside the spin, and the fact is that over 17,000 of the criminal aliens released last year were released due to ICE discretion, representing 57 percent of the releases,”Chairman Goodlatte told the Times. “The Obama administration’s lax enforcement policies are reckless and needlessly endanger our communities.”
The data reveal that 30,000 of the 41,000 aliens released on monitored electronically broke the terms of their release. While violations can include minor problems, those released racked up almost 300,000 violations in one year - an average of 10 violations per alien. About 2,400 of the violations were considered serious enough to warrant re-arrest.
In a statement to the Times, ICE said “Not all Level 1 criminal aliens are subject to mandatory detention and thus may be eligible for bond…ICE personnel making custody determinations also take into consideration humanitarian factors such as deteriorated health, advanced age, and caretaking responsibilities. All custody determinations are made on a case-by-case basis taking into consideration the totality of circumstances in each case.”
ICE claims it doesn’t have enough beds to hold all detainees but the agency’s 2016 budget proposal requested fewer beds for next year. The Administration wants to rely more on alternatives to detention but, as the Times writes, this would “put more emphasis on the very alternatives that are being violated.”
Read more in The Washington Times.
Updated: Thu, Jun 18th 2015 @ 11:45am EDT