Center for Immigration Studies Report: Obama Administration ‘Still Releasing Criminal Aliens at a Rapid Pace’

AP Photo/Rogilio V. Solis
AP Photo/Rogilio V. Solis

The Obama administration continues to release deportable criminal aliens from custody “at a rapid pace,” according to Center for Immigration Studies expert Jessica Vaughan.

Earlier this year, the House Judiciary Committee revealed that Immigration and Customs Enforcement had released 30,558 convicted criminal aliens in Fiscal Year 2014. The crimes for which the immigrants had been convicted included homicide, kidnapping, sexual assault, battery, and thousands of DUIs.

Vaughan, in her latest report, shows that as of March, ICE released another 10,246 criminal aliens.

“This pace of criminal releases is down from 2013 and 2014 — but only because ICE is arresting far fewer people to start with, not because there are fewer to arrest. ICE arrests of criminal aliens are down 32 percent since this time last year, according to ICE records. Arrests of the most serious offenders are down by 22 percent over last year,” Vaughan’s analysis reads.

The CIS expert highlights an Atlanta Journal-Constitution investigative report focused on those criminals released from custody due to the Supreme Court’s Zadvydas decision, which prohibited indefinite detention of criminal immigrants ordered deported, which largely happens when the criminal alien’s home country will not take them back.

However, Vaughan points out that Zadvydas releases are only a fraction of the criminals the Obama administration has let go.

“[A]ccording to ICE records, only 2,457 (8 percent) of the 30,558 convicted criminal releases in 2014 were Zadvydas cases. The majority of convicted criminal releases occurred because of Obama administration policies that require ICE officers to let the offenders go,” her analysis reads.

She notes that sometimes immigration judges will release criminal immigrants following a bond hearing, but they often abscond.

“Aliens who are released on bond typically are not subject to any form of supervision. Most of them will join the approximately 904,000 aliens who have been ordered removed (often in absentia), but who have not left. Of these, 167,527 are convicted criminals. ICE disclosed to the AJC that there are 27,790 such fugitives in Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina alone, 8,647 of whom have criminal convictions,” Vaughan reports.

Vaughan adds that few released criminal immigrants are ever found again.

“As of April 2015, ICE had arrested only 11,983 of the 168,000 at-large convicted criminal aliens. The Atlanta field office of ICE had arrested only 993 of the 8,600 at-large fugitives in that area — so they are not making much of a dent in the criminal fugitive population,” she reports, noting that these criminals often commit more crimes.

This happens amid a daily backdrop of “catch and release,” Vaughan writes, pointing to ICE records showing that in the first half of this fiscal year, ICE officers encountered 47,000 “aliens labeled a criminal threat, but took enforcement action against only about 19,000.”

“It’s not as if ICE has nowhere to put the criminal aliens that officers encounter (most of whom are referred to the agency after arrest or conviction on local or state charges). ICE is allowing 20 percent of its detention capacity to go unused. Halfway through the fiscal year, the agency was detaining an average of 27,400 per day, in defiance of a congressional mandate to detain 34,000,” Vaughan writes.