ICE Detainees Released ARE Criminals

Contrary to the claims of illegal alien advocacy groups, many of the detainees being released by ICE under the bogus pretext of sequestration-mandated budget cuts are in fact criminals, and hardly harmless, according to a variety of sources.

Here are some categories of detainees who were released from ICE detention over the last week:

  • Aliens convicted of drug offenses, theft, identity theft, forgery, and simple assault;
  • Aliens who were arrested and charged with local crimes, but turned over to ICE for deportation in lieu of prosecution;
  • Aliens who were bonded out on local criminal charges and were placed in ICE custody as a result of a detainer (typically a public safety or flight risk); under new ICE detention priority purposes, these are "non-mandatory, non-criminal detainees", because aliens are not considered to be dangerous or criminal until they have been convicted;
  • Repeat immigration offenders (despite ICE leadership claims that these are "enforcement priorities"); and
  • Recent border crossers (also supposedly an "enforcement priority").

DHS continues to divert aliens arrested by the Border Patrol to ICE for processing, instead of having the Border Patrol effect the removal, enabling ICE to claim credit for processing them, and artificially boosting its removal numbers.

But what is more worrisome than the statistical manipulation is the fact that these apprehended illegal aliens are now being released, not detained. According to one ICE manager, "The releases continue; primarily now the recent entrants and anyone the Border Patrol arrests and sends to us, as fast as they arrive, they are immediately processed for release, whether recent entrants, repeat immigration offenders, or criminals who are non-mandatory to detain."

Last weekend, ICE released 500 criminals in Pinal County, Ariz., alone. According to Sheriff Paul Babeu, most of these criminal aliens had not been apprehended in Pinal County originally, but transferred there from other jurisdictions. Now they are his problem, and ICE did not even bother to formally advise him in advance (which is typical, unfortunately).

The most sympathetic case the reporters at the New York Times could find was Anthony Orlando Williams, a Jamaican overstayer convicted of domestic violence:

Among those released in the past week was Anthony Orlando Williams, 52, a Jamaican immigrant who spent nearly three years in a detention center in Georgia. "I'm good, man," he said. "I'm free."

Mr. Williams, in a telephone interview from Stone Mountain, Ga., said he became an illegal immigrant when he overstayed a visa in 1991. He was detained in 2010 by a sheriff's deputy in Gwinnett County, Ga., when it was discovered that he had violated probation for a conviction in 2005 of simple assault, simple battery and child abuse, charges that sprung from a domestic dispute with his wife at the time. He was transferred to ICE custody and has been fighting a deportation order with the help of Families for Freedom, an immigrant support group in New York.

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Citizens should rightly ask, why in the world is this guy still around at all to be released — really, three years in detention, dragging out his dubious case? Our deportation system really is broken.

ICE spokespersons have taken pains to point out that all of these ex-detainees are still in deportation proceedings, but the reality is that there is much less chance that they will be sent home now, even if the courts ever get around to their cases, because many of them (especially the worst offenders) will simply disappear instead of attending their immigration court date. Currently, there are 850,000 people in the United States who have been ordered removed but who are still living here, according to ICE. The number of absconders has gone up 50 percent since 2008, no doubt due to these catch-and-release policies.

Unfortunately, we can be certain that some will go on to commit more crimes, just like the tens of thousands of other criminals that ICE has released instead of removed over the last several years.