Nearly 200 murderers, over 400 rapists, and 300 kidnappers in the U.S. illegally were released by Immigration and Customs Enforcement while awaiting deportation proceedings, according to a new report from the Center for Immigration Studies.
A total of 36,007 criminal illegal immigrants that were being processed for deportation were freed in 2013. Together, they committed nearly 88,000 crimes, according to the report, published Monday.
“I was astonished at not only the huge number of convicted criminals who were freed from ICE custody last year – an average of almost 100 a day — but also at the large number of very serious crimes they had committed,” said Jessica Vaughan, the director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies, in a statement.
ICE gathered the statistics — which include a breakdown by crime — in response to congressional inquiry following another report released earlier this year by the Center of Immigration Studies.
That report, which was based on internal Department of Homeland Security documents, showed that ICE encountered over 193,000 illegal immigrant convicts. Charging documents were issued for 125,000, and nearly 68,000 were released.
That review also found that 870,000 illegal immigrants had been removed from ICE dockets despite being in defiance of the law. The number of illegal aliens targeted for deportation fell 28 percent between 2012 and 2013, according to the documents.
The 36,007 illegal immigrants reported Monday were freed by ICE during the final disposition of their cases. The 68,000 from the previous report were criminals who encountered ICE agents — often in jails — but were released without undergoing deportation proceedings.
The 36,007 were released by bond, parole, unsupervised release, or on their own recognizance.
Besides violent criminals, ICE released nearly 16,000 illegal immigrants convicted of driving under the influence. The report also shows that ICE released nearly 2,700 illegal immigrants convicted of assault, 1,300 convicted for domestic violence, and nearly 1,300 convicted for battery.
“These figures call into question President Obama’s request to Congress for permission to reduce immigration detention capacity by 10 percent in favor of permission to make wider use of experimental alternatives to detention,” reads the report.
In June 2011, the administration began applying “prosecutorial discretion” to many deportation cases. This has led to a 40 percent decrease in the number of deportations.
“Congress should resist further action on immigration reform until the public can be assured that enforcement is more robust and that ICE can better deal with its criminal alien caseload without setting them free in our communities,” said Vaughan in a statement.