Judicial Watch on Monday released documents showing that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released 165,900 illegal aliens, some of whom had been convicted of violent crimes.
The release of 76 pages of documents
showed that as of April 26, 2014, the illegal aliens had been released throughout the United States. Crimes included such serious offenses as homicide, sexual assault, kidnapping, and aggravated assault.
That number, added to another 30,000 released in the past fiscal year, brings the total to 195,900.
The documents were released as a result of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by
Judicial Watch on July 21, 2014. Judicial Watch filed the suit after the Department of Homeland Security failed to respond to a May 15, 2014, FOIA request.
"It's appalling that we've had to sue in federal court to get key information about the Obama administration's release of 165,950 convicted criminal aliens," said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton in a press release.
"These documents show the Obama administration is lying when it says that its 'enforcement priorities' include deporting illegal aliens who have committed heinous crimes," Fitton said.
Judicial Watch said the ICE documents confirm a May 2014 Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) report showing that in 2013 ICE freed 36,007 convicted criminal aliens, who had nearly 88,000 convictions. Those included 193 homicide convictions, 426 sexual assault convictions, and 303 kidnapping convictions, according to Judicial Watch.
Judicial Watch's press release called those releases "the tip of the iceberg," and quoted from a DHS document
marked "FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY" on figures reported through April 26, 2014"
- Non-Detained Final Order Convicted CRIMINAL 165,950
- Non-Detained Final Order NON CRIMINAL 706,950
- Non-Detained Final Order TOTAL 872,900
Judicial Watch notes that the term "Final Order" indicates that the illegal immigrants listed had been ordered to leave the United States but had not done so.
The documents also show that some local laws prevent federal agents from enforcing immigration laws and provide sanctuary for illegal immigrants, including those convicted of crimes.
An email dated May 2, 2014 highlighted such a policy in Montgomery County, Maryland, which prevented immigration officials from gaining access to an illegal alien "in state custody on rape charges."
"ERO [Enforcement and Removal Operations] officers were also denied access to interview the alien at police station last Friday due to Montgomery County prohibitions against immigration enforcement," the email read.
"Lawless localities that help protect illegal alien rapists and other criminals show that politicians at all levels put politics above the rule of law and the public safety," Fitton said.
"Where do the innocent victims of the illegal alien criminals this president's appointees have set free go for justice?"
In an email from May 14, 2014, House Homeland Security Subcommittee Counsel Valerie Baldwin wrote to ICE Executive Associate Director Thomas Holman about the subcommittee's frustration over what it called ICE's stonewalling of information on the criminal alien release policies.
"At the ICE hearing and throughout the data call on ICE's budget request, we've requested data on the make-up of the non-detained ATD [Alternatives to Detention] docket, specifically as it relates to violent crimes," Baldwin wrote. "I'm wondering why the Washington Times and Washington Post have more information on the ATD population than the Chairman and the other members of the subcommittee."
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