Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) complained Wednesday about the administration’s failure to deport a Haitian criminal who was subsequently charged with the murder of a 25-year-old constituent.
“Some efforts were made, but they were abysmally and abhorrently inadequate and much more could have been done in my view,” Blumenthal told the witness, Sarah Saldana, the director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which is responsible for deporting illegals.
The Haitian, Jean Jacques, was released from jail after serving time for attempted murder. He is now charged with the stabbing murder of Casey Chadwick, a young Connecticut woman, six months after his release.
Nationwide, almost 200,000 foreign criminals have been released back onto U.S. streets, according to federal officials.
Saladana blamed the failure to deport the suspected murderer on a Supreme Court decision, which requires the federal government to release illegals from U.S. jails if the illegals’ home countries won’t allow them to return.
The ruling “requires us in post-custody, post-order situation to release a person if there’s no legitimate basis for believing somebody will be able to be removed,” she said. “Without a travel document to Haiti, this person would not have been able to be removed” from the U.S., she said.
“It isn’t a question of whether he had to be released,” Blumenthal responded to Saldana. “It’s a question of what was done to deport him and why he is not back in Haiti and Casey Chadwick still alive. That’s the real question here.”
“Haiti receives a lot of aid from this country and it has to be held accountable,” he said.
“I accept your statement that some efforts were made [by the administration], but they were abysmally and abhorrently inadequate and much more could have been done in my view and I believe the inspector general investigation will demonstrate factually that much more should and could have been done,” Blumenthal said, adding he wants to know about the “broader problems this particular failing may reflect.”
“You know, I won’t argue with you on how much more could have been done,” she responded. But she insisted that the U.S. government must get approval from the home country before repatriating criminals. Saldana went on:
I will tell you that we have to rely on the country to accept those travel documents and to put them in a form that they will accept their national back. That’s the frustration we have, is that there are a whole bunch of countries with which we have been trying to work to turn them around on this issue, to get us travel documents for these people. Haiti does not have, apparently, the interest, the resources to assist us in doing that. And so we can’t just drop them off without the country being in a position to accept them.
She added that she is “as frustrated as [Blumenthal] is with some of these countries that we have these difficulties with.” Saldana highlighted India and China as a couple of the “bunch” of countries that do not cooperate with taking back their nationals.
The Connecticut lawmaker responded that he expects that the inspector generals’ report will reveal that more could have been done by ICE. He further pressed Saldana to seek aid from Congress or the State Department on the problem of countries not accepting their nationals.