White House Seeks To Eliminate Loophole That Allowed The Release Of An Alleged Terrorist


Alex Pfeiffer White House Correspondent
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The White House asked congressional leaders Sunday to allow federal officials to indefinitely detain illegal immigrants with deportation orders.

A 2001 Supreme Court decision, Zadvydas v. Davis, prohibited federal officials from detaining most illegal immigrants with orders to be removed for longer than 180 days. This has led to thousands of criminal aliens being released, including one Somali immigrant who allegedly stabbed a Canadian police officer and ran down four pedestrians.

Abdulahi Hasan Sharif, the Somali allegedly behind the terror attack, was released from Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody in 2011 “due to a lack to likelihood of his removal in the reasonably foreseeable future,” an ICE spokeswoman told CBC News.

Acting ICE Director Thomas Homan told reporters Sunday that this Somali national was released due to the Zadvydas decision. Another prominent consequence of the Zavydas decision happened in 2012 when Binh Thai Luc allegedly murdered five people in San Francisco after Vietnam refused to issue travel documents.

In Fiscal Year 2017, 1,666 criminal illegal immigrants were released from custody due to the 2001 Supreme Court decision, according to a White House fact sheet.

ICE’s need to hold on to these illegal immigrants is due to a significant amount of countries that refuse to cooperate with American deportation proceedings. In May, ICE identified 12 nations that are uncooperative and 47 countries that are “at risk of non-compliance.”

The Zadvydas decision was centered on the long-term detention of two criminal illegal immigrants, Kestutis Zadvydas and Kim Ho Ma. Zadvydas’s criminal record included attempted robbery and Ma was convicted of manslaughter. Officials kept them for longer then 90 days due to a law that said an immigrant, “ordered removed… may be detained beyond the removal period.”

In a 5-4 decision, the court ruled that this damaged the immigrants’ rights to due process.

The Center for Immigration Studies’ Jon Feere noted that in a 2011 memorandum that ICE can indefinitely hold some immigrants. These are those that “have highly contagious diseases,” “pose foreign policy concerns,” “pose national security and terrorism concerns” and “are specially dangerous due to a mental condition or personality disorder.”

“But there is no exception for cases in which the alien is a criminal threat to the public,” Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies for the Center for Immigration Studies, told The Daily Caller.

The Keep Our Communities Safe Act would address the Zavydas loophole and allow ICE to detain an alien indefinitely until deportation is possible.

ICE Director Homan said Sunday, “We need Congress to address this public safety threat.”

The push for the closing of the Zavydas loophole came within the White House’s 70-point immigration plan that includes border wall funding, mandatory e-verify, the hiring of 10,000 additional ICE officers, a merit-based immigration system and expanded use of expedited deportation.

The White House is asking Congress to include these priorities when considering any possible amnesty of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) beneficiaries.

“There should not be one more person killed or harmed by a criminal alien who has to be released because their country won’t take them back,” Vaughan told TheDC. “This is not a poison pill or an unreasonable demand; it’s a no-brainer, and it should be included in the very next immigration bill that Congress can pass, whatever that may be.”