Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told a House committee that she is “not aware” of any actions the Obama administration has taken against countries that will not accept back illegal immigrants in “deportation status,” some of whom have committed crimes. After a “six-month detention period,” the illegal immigrants are released within the United States.
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“Isn’t it true that if they are in a deportation status and their home country will not accept them, that you release them back into the communities based on a ruling?” asked Republican Rep. Sandy Adams of Florida on Wednesday during a House Judiciary Committee hearing.
“Yeah, there’s a Supreme Court case called Zadvydas [vs. Davis], which is a due-process case, which, if the home country cannot accept or will not accept, gives us about a six-month detention period,” said Napolitano.
“And in fact,” Rep. Adams continued, “some of these people have come back into the communities and committed heinous crimes, truly heinous … Section 243(d) of the Immigration and Nationality Act requires the government to sanction countries that refuse to repatriate by suspending issuance of immigrant or non-immigrant visas, or both, to nationals of the country until it takes aliens back.”
“DHS is supposed to order or give the country that refuses to take back its aliens — the Secretary of State ‘shall order’ — that the visas to its citizens be suspended,” Adams concluded. “How many have you recommended under Section 243(d)?”
Napolitano answered, “We have not — what we have done is work with — there are countries that systemically refuse to accept their aliens back.
“So you’re telling me you have not done any?” asked Adams.
“Not that I am aware of,” said Napolitano.
Under further questioning from Adams, Napolitano said she will “look into” the matter.
“You said just a minute ago you had not. Now, you want to look into it. I’ve listened to that all morning long. I’ve been amazed at some of the answers given, knowing that you were coming before this committee,” said Adams.
The exact language of section 243(d) reads as follows, “Discontinuing Granting Visas to Nationals of Country Denying or Delaying Accepting Alien — On being notified by the Attorney General that the government of a foreign country denies or unreasonably delays accepting an alien who is a citizen, subject, national, or resident of that country after the Attorney General asks whether the government will accept the alien under this section, the Secretary of State shall order consular officers in that foreign country to discontinue granting immigrant visas or nonimmigrant visas, or both, to citizens, subjects, nationals, and residents of that country until the Attorney General notifies the Secretary that the country has accepted the alien.”