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Judicial Watch • Judicial Watch: DHS Documents Show 149 Criminal Illegal Aliens Criminals Released in Arizona in Just Three Weeks

Judicial Watch: DHS Documents Show 149 Criminal Illegal Aliens Criminals Released in Arizona in Just Three Weeks

Judicial Watch: DHS Documents Show 149 Criminal Illegal Aliens Criminals Released in Arizona in Just Three Weeks

JULY 15, 2015

Update: 10/01/2015

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that it obtained records from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) revealing that nearly 149 illegal alien criminals, who committed a total of 260 crimes, including 40 incarcerated for violent crimes, were released from Arizona detention facilities during the last week of February and the first two weeks of March 2013. After first denying that the mass release had taken place, the Obama administration claimed the releases were due to the anticipated sequestration budget cuts. The newly obtained records were uncovered because of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch on behalf of Edward Tuffly, a Tucson, AZ, resident (Edward “Bud” Tuffly v. U. S. Department of Homeland Security (No. 2:15-cv-00067)).

Judicial Watch filed the lawsuit for Mr. Tuffly in January 2015 after DHS failed to respond to his November 10, 2014, FOIA request of U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) seeking the following information:

  • Records sufficient to identify all ICE detainees released in late February or early March 2013 from the following detention facilities due to alleged fiscal or budget uncertainty: (a) Central Arizona Correctional Center in Florence, Arizona: (b) Eloy Detention Center in Eloy, Arizona; (c) Florence Correctional Center in Florence, Arizona; (d) Florence SPC in Florence, Arizona; and (e) Pinal County Adult Detention Center in Florence, Arizona.
  • For each detainee identified in response to Request No.1, the I-213 form(s) documenting the detainee’s arrest.
  • For each detainee identified in response to Request No.1, records sufficient to identify: (a) the date the detainee was released; (b) the facility from which the detainee was released; (c) the detainee’s criminal history or criminal charges at the time of release; (d) methods of supervision to which the detainee was subjected; and (e) whether the detainee appeared for subsequent removal or other proceedings and/or was removed from the United States.

The date range for the requested records was February 22 through March 15, 2013. This was the period during which DHS released more than 2000 illegal aliens nationwide, later claiming the release was “solely for budgetary reasons,” though none of the anticipated sequestration budget cuts had yet taken place.

Among the nearly 149 illegal aliens released from five Arizona correction facilities at the time were nearly 40 violent criminals who had been arrested for crimes including assault, domestic violence, weapons offenses, and battery. Nearly one in five had been arrested for drunk driving. The full list of crimes is below:

 

Traffic Offense:  57

Driving Under Influence Liquor: 55

Disorderly Conduct: 15

Failure to Appear: 14

Illegal Entry: 13

Assault: 9

Drug Trafficking: 9

Shoplifting: 8

Larceny: 8

Making False Report: 6

Drug Possession: 6

Weapons Offense: 6

Forgery: 5

Domestic Violence: 4

Trespassing: 4

Damage Property: 4

Prostitution: 4

Liquor: 3

Marijuana: 3

Damage Property—Private: 3

Probation Violation: 3

Liquor Possession: 2

Identity Theft: 2

Battery: 2

Contributing to Delinquency of Minor: 2

Commercial Sex: 2

Fraud—False Statement: 2

Fraud—Impersonating: 2

Public Order Crimes: 2

Violation of a Court Order: 2

Robbery—Street Gun: 2

Robbery: 2

Narcotics Equip—Possession: 2

Intimidation: 2

Morals—Decency Crimes:  1

Identity Theft: 1

Cruelty Toward Wife: 1

Smuggling: 1

Smuggling Aliens: 1

Fraud: 1

Licensing Offense: 1

Stolen Vehicle: 1

Licensing Violation: 1

Obstruct Criminal Investigation: 1

Firing Weapon: 1

Resisting Officer: 1

Burglary Tools—Possession: 1

Threat to Burn: 1

Receive Stolen Property: 1

Hit and Run: 1

Obstruct Police: 1

Possession of a Weapon: 1

 

The Obama administration is refusing to divulge the names of the released criminals, which prevents law enforcement from protecting the public or notifying victims. Local authorities in Arizona, such as Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, have tried unsuccessfully to obtain information about this and other criminal alien releases by the Obama administration.  In 2014, a Judicial Watch lawsuit forced the release of 76 pages of Department of Homeland Security (DHS) documents revealing that as of April 2014, ICE had released 165,900 convicted criminal aliens throughout the United States, including many convicted of such violent crimes as homicide, sexual assault, kidnapping, and aggravated assault.

Judicial Watch is a long-time national leader in advocating for the rule-of-law approach to illegal immigration.  This work includes exposing and challenging dangerous sanctuary policies in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, D.C., Maryland, Arizona, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, and more.  For example, in 2011, as a result of Judicial Watch’s work, San Francisco was ordered to end its sanctuary policy that protected aliens arrested for certain drug offenses from being reported to ICE.

Judicial Watch also filed a lawsuit in Chicago challenging Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart’s refusal to honor ICE immigration detainers or cooperate with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in identifying deportable criminal aliens.  Cook County jails have released well over 1,000 criminal aliens sought by ICE in the 18 months prior the lawsuit’s filing in 2013.  The suit is now before the Illinois Supreme Court.

The lawsuit, Brian McCann v. Thomas J. Dart, is on behalf of lifetime Chicago resident Brian McCann, whose brother William “Denny” McCann, was run over and killed in June 2011 by an unlawfully present criminal alien who had just completed a two-year term of probation for a 2009 DUI conviction.  The alien, Saul Chavez, was charged with felony aggravated driving under the influence, but was released by the Sheriff from a Cook County jail in November 2011 despite an ICE immigration detainer.

“The Obama administration is obsessed with supporting nationwide sanctuary and unlawful amnesty for illegal aliens – even illegal aliens who have committed violent crimes,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.  “These new documents show the Obama administration’s soft-on-crime approach to illegal alien crime is a clear and present danger to the safety of innocent Americans.”


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