The Department of Homeland Security must remove the thousands of criminal immigrants slated for release from federal prison next month from the U.S., according to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA).
Some 2,000 convicted criminal aliens are expected to be released in November as part of the United States Sentencing Commission’s retroactive reduction of prison time for certain drug offenders.
In a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson dated Tuesday, Goodlatte seeks assurances that these criminal aliens will be removed from the country and not walking freely on American streets.
“Please confirm whether my expectation will be met and that the Department of Homeland Security is committed to ridding our streets of aliens peddling dangerous and illicit drugs to our children,” Goodlatte wrote.
The Virginia lawmaker highlighted testimony Johnson offered during a July committee hearing in regard to these sentencing changes and the early release of alien felons.
“I’m aware of this issue,” Goodlatte quoted Johnson’s testimony in the letter. “I’m aware of the adjustment to the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. I’m aware that a number of individuals will be released as a result. I’m aware that a number of them are probably undocumented, and we’ve been working with DOJ to do the most effective thing for public safety in that regard.”
According to Goodlatte, Johnson’s acknowledgement requires action and DHS must take responsibility for these high priority criminal aliens and ensure they are removed.
“Given your response, I fully expect that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will issue a detainer with the [Federal Bureau of Prisons] for each alien expected to be released pursuant to Amendment 782, and that each alien will be taken into custody by ICE, as required by the Immigration and Nationality Act, for purposes of initiating removal proceedings or to execute the removal order of each alien who is already subject to a final order of removal from the United States,” he wrote.
Additionally Goodlatte pressed for more information about the criminal aliens slated for release, including details about DHS’ expectations for their removal proceedings.