The Obama administration released 30,558 criminal aliens with a total of 79,059 convictions in fiscal year 2014, and nearly 1,500 of those released went on to commit more crimes ranging from vehicular homicide to sexual assault to child abuse.
Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte released these numbers during an oversight hearing on the Department of Homeland Security Tuesday.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement provided the data to the committee, which showed that of the 30,558 released immigrant criminals, 1,423 have since been convicted again.
Republican Congressmen have criticized the new DHS policy of not prioritizing deportation of fugitive immigrants if the order for their removal was issued before January 1, 2014.
“DHS under the Obama Administration has taken unprecedented steps in order to shut down the enforcement of the immigration laws for millions of unlawful and criminal aliens not considered high enough ‘priorities,’” reads a copy Goodlatte’s opening statement from the hearing. “This is done under the guise of ‘prosecutorial discretion.’ Unfortunately, new priorities issued by Secretary [Jeh] Johnson last November have turned the flight from enforcement into a headlong rush.”
The convictions of the released illegals run the gamut of terrible crimes: theft, battery, child abuse, sexual assault, domestic violence, vehicular homicide, and driving under the influence.
Goodlatte’s statement continues:
Because of the failure by this and previous administrations to detain criminal aliens, and the failure to vigorously pursue fugitives, there are almost 180,000 convicted criminal aliens currently in removal proceedings who are living in our neighborhoods and almost 170,000 convicted criminal aliens who have been ordered removed yet are also living free.
The Bureau of Justice Statistics puts the national recidivism rate at nearly 70% three years after release, while the number of criminal immigrants in these ICE data who have been convicted so far is much lower than that rate, at about 5%.
These numbers are skewed, however, for a couple of reasons. First, the BJS defines recidivism by the number of arrests, whereas the ICE data are based off convictions, which will always be a lower number. There are also likely arrested immigrants who will be convicted but have not finished court proceedings yet.
Also, the BJS data is after three years whereas the ICE data are from fiscal year 2014, much less than that.
But for conservative reform advocates, recidivism is not the point. They are upset that the crimes ever happened at all saying those criminals should have been released out of the country, not on American soil.
A government report released Monday showed that over 1,800 immigrants the Feds wanted to deport were released from local jails only to be arrested again.
This data touches on a national debate about criminal immigrants and the problems with deporting them after a man who had been deported multiple times fatally shot a woman in San Francisco.
The debate was intensified further after Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump’s comments that many illegal immigrants are rapists and criminals.
“Now, the Administration has proposed a new ‘Priority Enforcement Program’ that actually directs officers not to enforce federal law,” Senator Jeff Sessions said in a statement. “By defining its ‘priorities’ to exclude large categories of illegal immigrants, including those who have already been ordered deported or those who illegally reenter after having been deported, PEP ensures that countless more dangerous aliens will be released into U.S. communities — allowing otherwise entirely preventable crimes, including some of the most violent and egregious, to occur.”
This report, by Casey Harper, was cross-posted by arrangement with the Daily Caller News Foundation.