Data: DHS freed thousands of criminal immigrants

Article author: 
Alicia A. Caldwell
Article publisher: 
The Denver Post
Article date: 
16 May 2014
Article category: 
National News
Article Body: 

The Homeland Security Department released 36,007 convicted criminal immigrants last year who are facing deportation ...

The immigrants released had completed their criminal jail sentences and nearly all still face deportation and are required to check in with immigration authorities while their deportation cases are pending.

The data from U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement were first disclosed by the Center for Immigration Studies, a conservative group that advocates for less immigration. In its own report, the group said "the vast majority of these releases from ICE custody were discretionary, not required by law ... nor the result of local sanctuary policies." It did not describe how many immigrants ICE decided on its own to release and how many a judge ordered to be released.

An ICE spokeswoman, Barbara Gonzalez, said Friday that in many cases cited in the report the agency was required by law to release the immigrants while their deportation cases are pending.

"The releases required by court decisions account for a disproportionate number of the serious crimes listed in the report," she said. Gonzalez said, for example, that mandatory releases account for over 72 percent of the immigrants convicted of homicide ...

[Homeland Security] Johnson has not said when he expects that review to conclude, but in an interview Thursday with PBS' "NewsHour" program he did say a program used to identify potentially deportable immigrants in local jails needs a "fresh start." The Secure Communities program has been widely criticized by immigration advocates  ...

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