Judicial Watch: New Documents Show Homeland Security Released 165,900 Convicted Criminal Aliens throughout U.S. as of April 26, 2014
MARCH 23, 2015
Documents show Al Jazeera wanted to film people with “significant diseases”
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch today released 76 pages of Department of Homeland Security (DHS) documents revealing that as of April 26, 2014, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (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. (Reports recently detailed that ICE released another 30,000 in the most recent fiscal year, which brings the grand total of known criminals released by the Obama administration to 195,900.)
The documents were released through a July 21, 2014, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (No. 1:14-cv-01237)) filed by Judicial Watch after DHS failed to respond to a May 15 FOIA request seeking:
Any and all records of communications including, but not limited to, emails and memoranda, to or from personnel in the office of the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (including its component offices, such as the Office of Public Affairs), from May 1 to May 15, 2014, concerning, regarding, or related to the report published by the Center for Immigrations Studies concerning the release of 36,000 criminal aliens.
The ICE documents confirm a May 2014 Center Immigration Studies (CIS) report showing that in 2013 ICE freed 36,007 convicted criminal aliens, who had nearly 88,000 convictions, including 193 homicide convictions, 426 sexual assault convictions, and 303 kidnapping convictions.
As has been previously reported, and is evidenced in these documents, the 36,007 criminal aliens freed by ICE in 2013 were just the tip of the iceberg. In a DHS “Overview of ICE” document marked “FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY,” the following figures are reported through April 26, 2014 [NOTE: “Final Order” indicates the illegal aliens were ordered to leave the country, but have not done so and remain free]:
- Non-Detained Final Order Convicted CRIMINAL 165,950
- Non-Detained Final Order NON CRIMINAL 706,950
- Non-Detained Final Order TOTAL 872,900
The documents also detail the difficulty caused by local policies that interfere with federal enforcement of immigration law and provide “sanctuary” for illegal alien criminals.
An email dated May 2, 2014, highlights how such a policy in Montgomery County, Maryland, prevented immigration officials from gaining access to an illegal alien “in state custody on rape charges”:
ERO [Enforcement and Removal Operations] officers were also denied access to interview the alien at police station last Friday due to Montgomery County prohibitions against immigration enforcement.
The documents also include a May 14, 2014, email from House Homeland Security Subcommittee Counsel Valerie Baldwin to ICE Executive Associate Director Thomas Holman expressing the subcommittee’s frustration over ICE stonewalling of information concerning the criminal alien release policies:
Gentlemen, At the ICE hearing and throughout the data call on ICE’s budget request, we’ve requested data on the make-up of the non-detained ATD [Alternatives to Detention] docket, specifically as it relates to violent crimes. I’m wondering why the Washington Times and Washington Post have more information on the ATD population than the Chairman and the other members of the subcommittee. Please respond with an answer today.
Immediately following the release of the CIS report, former Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX), issued a statement terming the action, “the worst prison break in American history.”
Also included in the documents is a reference in the May 12, 2014, ICE Public Affairs Office “Daily Close of Business Report” describing a request from the Al Jazeera Network to film the disease quarantine room at Miami International Airport. According to the ICE “Business Report:”
General – Miami: Request to Film at Miami International Airport, Al Jazeera Network
Bureau manager called, requested to film the quarantine room for any passenger suspected of being ill with any significant diseases. PAO [Public Affairs Officer] referred the call to CBP [Customs and Border Patrol].
The Al Jazeera Network request coincided with the first reports of the Ebola virus spreading throughout West Africa. On October 9, 2014 in a story entitled “Experts: ISIS Could Use Ebola In Bio-Terror Attack Against US,” CBS Network affiliate WNEW reported, “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria terrorists may use ‘carriers’ to spread the Ebola virus as part of a low-tech biological terror tactic, according to national security and health experts.”
“It’s appalling that we’ve had to sue in federal court to get key information about the Obama administration’s release of 165,950 convicted criminal aliens,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “These documents show the Obama administration is lying when it says that its ‘enforcement priorities’ include deporting illegal aliens who have committed heinous crimes. And lawless localities that help protect illegal alien rapists and other criminals show that politicians at all levels put politics above the rule of law and the public safety. Where do the innocent victims of the illegal alien criminals this president’s appointees have set free go for justice?”