Judicial Watch • ICE Releases Violent Convicts

ICE Releases Violent Convicts

ICE Releases Violent Convicts

AUGUST 04, 2009

Citing resource shortages, the Homeland Security agency responsible for enforcing federal immigration laws has released hundreds of violent illegal immigrants convicted of serious crimes, including homicide and sexual assault.

Equally alarming is that the agency, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), doesn’t keep track of the criminal aliens and has no clue where in the U.S. they live. Illegal immigrants released in the last few years had more than 800 charges or convictions, with nearly half of the cases this year alone. 

The appalling information was made public by a Houston newspaper that obtained ICE files under the Freedom of Information Act. The data reveals that lack of space and funds forced agency officials to free of hundreds of illegal aliens accused or convicted of felonies. In many cases the agency does not know the whereabouts of criminal aliens charged or convicted of homicide, sexual assault and weapons violations. 

Illegal immigrants accused or convicted of homicide have been released nationwide, according to the ICE files, including Michigan, Illinois, Minnesota and California. Those suspected or convicted of sexual assault were freed in Georgia, Florida and Utah. In Houston illegal immigrants accused or convicted of 21 crimes—ranging from assault to burglary and “dangerous drugs’’—were released on their own recognizance. 

In each case, the agency justified its unbelievable actions by claiming a lack of resources or space even though Congress has greatly increased its budget to nearly double its detention space this year. Additionally, ICE got $1.4 billion in the 2009 fiscal year to deport—rather than release—illegal aliens with criminal records. 

Just last week ICE came under fire for ordering an Arizona sheriff’s department to release dozens of illegal immigrants arrested during a recent crime suppression operation. Last year three local police departments—in Rhode Island, California and Colorado—accused the agency of failing to deport previously arrested illegal immigrants who instead went on to commit six murders and a rape.  

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