Of the 1,000 illegal aliens who have been convicted of crimes and released back onto U.S. streets since 2013, 156 were re-arrested and released a second time rather than being deported.
That was revealed in a letter Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) assistant secretary Sarah Saldana sent to Senate Judiciary chairman Chuck Grassley last week.
Grassley had sent Saldana a letter in January inquiring about the 36,007 criminal aliens that ICE has released from its custody since fiscal year 2013. Of those, 1,000 went on to commit crimes after being put back on the streets.
In her letter, Saldana told Grassley that “as of March 29, 2015, ICE has removed 182 of these aliens.” But she admitted: “Subsequent to their FY 2013 release, ICE rebooked-in and rebooked-out 156 of these aliens as of March 29, 2015.”
“Incredibly, as though releasing these criminal aliens one time is not bad enough, ICE once again released from its custody at least 156 of these repeat offenders back into our neighborhoods, instead of deporting them,” wrote Grassley in a new letter to Saldana dated June 16.
“This practice is completely contrary to the President’s promise to deport “[f]elons, not families…[c]riminals, not children…[g]ang members, not a mom who’s working hard to provide for her kids,” reads the letter, which was also signed by Arizona U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake and Alabama U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions.
The joint letter comes after it was revealed earlier this week that between 2010 and 2014, 121 illegal aliens with criminal records who were released from ICE custody have since been charged with murder. (RELATED: 121 Criminal Aliens Released By Obama Administration Have Been Charged With Murder Since 2010)
Thirty-three of the 121 were released at the discretion of the Justice Department’s Executive Office of Immigration Review. Another 24 were released because of a 2001 Supreme Court ruling in Zadvydas v. Davis. The court ruled that illegal immigrants cannot be held in ICE custody for more than 180 days. Instead, they must be released back onto U.S. streets while awaiting their deportation proceedings.
In their letter, the senators are asking Saldana to identify the 156 illegal alien criminals and about the nature of their crimes and the justification for their release.
Grassley has shed light on numerous cases in which illegal immigrant criminals have either fallen through the cracks of federal agencies or who have been granted amnesty to stay in the U.S. and gone on to commit crimes.
Earlier this year Grassley’s inquiries forced U.S. Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) to admit that it approved amnesty for a known gang member under President Obama’s 2012 initiative, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
Emmanuel Jesus Rangel-Hernandez had been arrested on a marijuana charge and was slated for removal. But he applied for DACA and was granted protection even though he was a known gang member. Rangel-Hernandez since went on to murder four people in North Carolina. (RELATED: Obama Administration Admits It Granted Amnesty To Gang Member Accused Of Murdering Four)
Grassley also helped uncover DHS’ failure to revoke amnesty protection for Edgar Covarrubias-Padilla, a Mexican national who worked at a California science camp for children. Covarrubias-Padilla was arrested May 7 and charged with the sexual abuse of children and with possession of child pornography. According to Grassley, DHS knew as early as Nov. 17, 2014, that Covarrubias-Padilla was being investigated for child sex crimes. Yet his DACA status was not revoked until after he was charged last month. (RELATED: Amnesty Granted To Child Molesting Camp Counselor Known As ‘Papa Bear’)
In a separate inquiry, Grassley and Flake sought information about Apolinar Altamirano’s deportation case. The 29-year-old Mexican national was charged with first-degree murder in the Jan. 22 shooting death of a Mesa, Ariz. convenience store clerk.
ICE’s Saldana acknowledged that the agency had released Altamirano on bond in Jan. 2013 in relation to a burglarly charge. He was awaiting immigration court proceedings before shooting the store clerk, Grant Ronnebeck, over a pack of cigarettes.
It was in response to that inquiry that Saldana stated that 121 illegal aliens with criminal records had been charged with “homicide-related” crimes after being released from ICE custody.