According to a document released on Monday from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, “Between FY 2010 and FY 2014, there were 121 unique criminal aliens who had an active case at the time of release and were subsequently charged with homicide-related offenses.”
Besides murder, there are many instances of violence committed by released immigrants, and the Department of Homeland Security said that it released 36,000 violent criminals in 2013, as reported by Town Hall.
In one case, ICE was unaware that an illegal immigrant had been cited in court orders for making death threats. ICE released the immigrant, Apolinar Altamirano, who went on to be arrested for murder in January 2015. Mr. Atamirano would not have been released by ICE if they had known about the court orders.
As reported by the Washington Times, “Not all criminals are subject to mandatory detention,” according to ICE. Under current policy, detention cannot be used as punishment for crimes or for being in the country illegally. Instead, they said it should be used to make more deportations possible.
In response to criticism, ICE changed its policy so that cases be approved by a supervisor before immigrants with criminal records are going to be released.
Some think that these murders could have been prevented if ICE had not released these 121 immigrants. Senators Chuck Grassley and Jeff Sessions began investigating the issue, sending a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, Secretary of State John F. Kerry, and Attorney General Loretta Lynch. The Senators are accusing them of not employing all of the necessary tools available to prevent criminal immigrants from being released.
Part of the problem is that Mexico and other nations are refusing to take back their citizens who commit violent crimes. According to a Supreme Court ruling, the U.S. cannot detain foreigners for more than a six month period if they are not accepted by their nations of origin. Because of this ruling, thousands of violent immigrants are released.
Republicans have tried to get the State Department to utilize diplomatic techniques like not giving visas to high-ranking officials in order to force other nations to take back their citizens who are violent offenders.
Kerry, Lynch, and Johnson must respond to the Senators’ letter by July 6.