ADAMS: Napolitano’s silence risks American lives

Law pressuring countries to take back dangerous criminals remains unused

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Qian Wu didn’t have to die. Her murderer, Huang Chen, lived just two doors from her, and he had a history of violence. He was an illegal immigrant who had been put into detention twice by the U.S. government but had been released based on precedent set by a Supreme Court case, Zadvydas v. Davis (2001). In that case, the Supreme Court held that those who had not been lawfully admitted into the United States and had been ordered removed could not be detained for more than six months if there was no reasonable likelihood of their being removed. Unfortunately for Wu, that was the case for Chen.

Chen had a documented and sordid past. In 2006, he spent 30 days in jail for choking Wu and punching her in the face. He also had received at least five orders of protection against him. After six months of detention, because of precedent set by Zadvydas and China’s refusal to grant him re-entry, the Department of Homeland Security released Chen, giving him access to Wu once again. In 2010, Chen murdered Wu. According to reports about the murder, the whereabouts of her heart and lungs are still unknown.

Cases like these are not the only egregious examples of this situation. During a recent House Judiciary Committee hearing, I took the opportunity to ask Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano about the detention and release of dangerous criminal aliens in the United States. Unfortunately for Qian Wu and the victims of horrendous crimes like hers, I didn’t get the answers they, and all Americans, deserve.

Ms. Napolitano also refused to say why her department isn’t exercising a statutory remedy that could have prevented Wu’s death. The Immigration and Nationality Act, Section 243(d), says, “On being notified by the Attorney General [now Secretary of Homeland Security] that the government of a foreign country denies or unreasonably delays accepting an alien who is a citizen, subject, national or resident of that country after the Attorney General asks whether the government will accept the alien under this section, the Secretary of State shall order consular officers in that foreign country to discontinue granting immigrant visas or nonimmigrant visas, or both, to citizens, subjects, nationals and residents of that country until the Attorney General notifies the Secretary that the country has accepted the alien.”

This legal remedy works. It could potentially save lives and help us protect our communities from dangerous criminal aliens who have no purpose being in our country, but it isn’t being exercised by Ms. Napolitano or her department. In 2001, the United States used Section 243(d) of the Immigration and Nationality Act when Guyana refused to issue travel documents to its criminal aliens. In response, Guyana issued travel documents to 112 of the 113 Guyanese aliens ordered removed from the United States in short order, and the sanction was lifted.

Ms. Napolitano has the ability to prevent future crimes like the murder of Qian Wu, and I think Americans deserve to know if she’s using the tools she has to protect our communities. That is why I wrote a letter to Ms. Napolitano on Nov. 2 seeking answers on behalf of Wu and Americans across the country whose lives are being put at risk.

I am waiting for her response.

Rep. Sandy Adams is a Florida Republican.

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