Immigration and Customs Enforcement has released the zip codes associated with the Obama administration’s release of 169 immigrants convicted of “homicide-related” offenses who were awaiting deportation proceedings.
ICE released the new information about the 169 immigrant convicts to Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley. The senator pressed the Department of Homeland Security for answers in June following confirmed reports that, in 2013, ICE released 36,007 immigrants convicted of nearly 88,000 crimes (including murder, kidnapping, and sexual assault). All were awaiting the outcome of deportation proceedings.
Thursday, Grassley released the information provided to him from ICE about the 169 released immigrants convicted of homicide. Thomas Winkowski, ICE’s principal deputy assistant secretary wrote in a letter to Grassley:
Of the 169 detainees with a homicide-related conviction who were released from ICE custody in FY 2013, 131 have been issued final order of removal. Of the remaining 38 aliens who have not been issued a final order of removal, one was granted voluntary departure by an immigration judge and subsequently departed within the permitted timeframe. Further, 154 of the 169 were released pursuant to court order due to Zadvydas.
Winkowski subsequently listed the more than 130 zip codes, he wrote, were “associated with the detainees.”
“Ensuring that our enforcement policies and procedures are best suited to protect national security, and public safety is paramount,” he added. “To make certain we are doing everything we can in this regard, I am instituting new procedures requiring that an appropriate senior-level supervisor must approve before ICE releases potentially dangerous individuals.”
According to Grassley, Winkowski’s response reveals the government has not placed adequate protections to “ensure public safety and national security.”
“The public needs to know when a person is in the country illegally, and who has been convicted of a homicide, is released into their communities,” Grassley said in a statement. “We’ve introduced legislation that would reverse the court case that the Obama administration is relying on to excuse its irresponsible release of thousands of criminally convicted aliens.”
Grassley’s office noted that he has introduced legislation that would “close the legal loophole created by” the 2001 Supreme Court Case Zadvydas v. Davis, which requires the government to release aliens if they are not accepted for deportation by their home countries within six months.