By CIS, Special forUSDR.
In response to the new Center for Immigration Studies report “ICE Document Details 36,000 Criminal Alien Releases in 2013,” the Obama administration claimed that some of the releases were mandated by a 2001 Supreme Court ruling. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) claimed that “mandatory releases account for over 72 percent of the homicides listed.” Of the total 36,007 convicted criminals released from immigration detention, CIS estimated 3,000 of them were such “mandatory”releases.
But many of these releases could likely have beenavoided.
The Supreme Court case is Zadvydas v. Davis, which held that the federal government can detain aliens for deportation up to six months but generally must release the alien back into the United States after that point if there is “no significant likelihood of removal in the reasonably foreseeable future”. One of the main reasons such a situation arises is that a criminal alien’s home country will refuse to take its nationals back. Instead of demanding that countries cooperate, it appears the White House simply released thousands of criminal aliens back into Americancommunities.
However, federal law requires the Secretary of State to stop issuing visas to the citizens of any country that refuses to take back its nationals [8 U.S.C. § 1253(d)]. Such a move creates a strong incentive for the country to start cooperating. This legal requirement has been followed only once, against Guyana in 2001; but it almost immediately had the desiredeffect.
View the Backgrounder covering the Supreme Court ruling and the visa-suspension requirement at http://cis.org/clinton-kerry-share-responsibility-criminal-alien-releases.
“Congress has given DHS and the State Department the tools to ensure that Americans do not have to live among criminals who do not belong in the country,” said Jon Feere, the Legal Policy Analyst at the Center for Immigration Studies. “Jeh Johnson,Janet Napolitano, John Kerry, and Hillary Clinton should explain why they didn’t follow federal law and stop the issuance of visas to the countries that have refused to take back their law-breakingcitizens.”
“Releasing criminal aliens into our neighborhoods should be a rare event and the very last resort, only after the government has exhausted all of its options,” said Jessica Vaughan, the Director of Policy Studies for the Center for Immigration Studies (and a former Foreign Service Officer). “That’s not the case here – the United States has a lot of leverage with these countries, and one of the most powerful is visa sanctions. If other countries refuse to take back their citizens, or obstruct the deportation process, the suspension of certain visa issuances is a reasonable response, and one that has succeeded in thepast.”