House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) took the Obama administration to task for the deterioration in immigration enforcement, highlighting the increase in the level of criminal immigrants on the streets.
In his opening statement during a House Judiciary Committee DHS oversight hearing Goodlatte revealed that from July 2012 to February 2015 the number of criminal immigrants — either in removal proceedings or with final orders of removals — on the streets has increased 28 percent.
“Because of the failure by this and previous administrations to detain criminal aliens, and the failure to vigorously pursue fugitives, there are almost 180,000 convicted criminal aliens currently in removal proceedings who are living in our neighborhoods and almost 170,000 convicted criminal aliens who have been ordered removed yet are also living free. Under the Obama Administration, the total number of such convicted criminal aliens who are not being detained has jumped 28% since 2012,” he said.
Goodlatte further revealed that the number of arrests of criminal immigrants has also declined.
“Despite DHS’s pledge to prioritize the removal of serious criminal aliens, in the last year the number of administrative arrests of criminal aliens has fallen by a third,” Goodlatte said.
The Virginia lawmaker highlighted that of 30,558 criminal immigrants released last fiscal year, 1,423 have already gone on to commit additional crimes.
“The tragic impact of DHS’s reckless policies on the safety of Americans was made all too apparent in recent weeks. A convicted criminal alien who had been deported numerous times killed an innocent American woman on a popular pier in San Francisco,” he said in reference to the recent murder of Kathryn Steinle. “ICE had recently issued a detainer for the alien – which San Francisco, a sanctuary city, simply ignored and proceeded to release him.”
“Unfortunately, DHS openly advertises that jurisdictions can ignore its detainers,” he added.
Goodlatte concluded by reiterating that Americans have “lost all confidence in this Administration’s willingness to enforce our current immigration laws” and pointed out that it “has become the single biggest impediment to Congress’ ability to fix our broken immigration system.”