Thousands of Criminal Aliens Released; ICE Cites “Discretion”

Published on March 20th, 2015

By Joe Guzzardi
March 20, 2015

Truth is the biggest victim of President Obama’s relentless pursuit of an amnesty for unlawful immigrants. Obama spent much of his first term trying to sell amnesty to Congress. But last November after he couldn’t persuade the House to fall in line, he embarked independently and unconstitutionally with an executive action. Under the president’s so called prosecutorial discretion plan, about five million aliens would be removed from deportation, and rewarded with work permits, social security numbers, and welfare benefits.

Knowing that Americans overwhelmingly oppose amnesty and having seen proof of their disapproval in the mid-term elections, Obama resorted to dramatic, verifiable distortions of the truth in an effort to defend his policy and win converts.

A favorite White House deceit promotes amnesty as a vehicle to make America safer. The twisted logic is that once illegal immigrants are awarded legal status, they’ll be free to come out of the shadows that perpetually engulf them, and participate meaningfully in society. Another frequently relied on misrepresentation is that the border is more secure than at any time in history.
But at two congressional hearings this week, credible witnesses with firsthand knowledge of what’s actually happening in the interior and at the border painted a much different and indeed frightening picture of immigration reality that belie the administration’s amnesty talking points.

First, at a House Oversight and Government Reform hearing, Chairman Jason Chaffetz read statistics from Immigration Customs and Enforcement which showed that the Obama administration has little concern for Americans’ safety. According to the ICE report, there are 167,527 non-detained, final-order, convicted criminals at large in the United States. The list includes convicted sex offenders, murderers, drunk drivers, and kidnappers. As for non-criminals, a review of Department of Homeland Security statistics found that 99.92 percent of illegal immigrants and visa overstays did not face removal.

Rep. Chaffetz repeatedly questioned ICE Director Sarah Saldaña about how her agency justifies releasing dangerous aliens into the general public when they’ve been identified for deportation. Saldana’s unwavering default position: the White House has given ICE discretion to release whoever it wants. This contradicts Obama’s insistence that his administration wants to devote Department of Homeland Security resources on removing dangerous criminals instead of focusing on harmless families.

Second, during a Senate panel, Border Patrol agent Chris Cabrera confirmed Saldaña’s statement that the administration not only endorses ignoring non-criminal aliens, but has also promised to inflict “severe consequences” on agents who report groups of 20 or more border crossers. Cabrera testified that nearly 6 out of every ten aliens are not apprehended, and that the percentage is significantly lower for drug smugglers who are more skilled at avoiding capture. Regarding DHS statistics that reflect 75 percent effectiveness at securing the border, Cabrera called them manipulated. Said Cabrera: “I want to be crystal clear—the border is not secure,” a fact that Americans saw last summer as they watched thousands of Central Americans walk unimpeded into the U.S.

Pity those within ICE who try to do their jobs. In her law suit Patricia Vroom, a 26-year veteran ICE lawyer and winner of various achievement awards, claimed top ICE officials subjected her to “relentless bullying and harassment” for not cancelling deportations of aliens who committed identity fraud or other felonies. Vroom’s superiors also objected to her legitimate push-back against the administration’s prosecutorial discretion program.

Vroom’s suit, filed last November, alleges what many Americans fear is the worst case scenario-—that Obama’s blatant disdain for immigration enforcement puts illegal immigrants and even criminal aliens’ well-being ahead of America citizens and public safety.

Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow. Contact him at [email protected]

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