- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 14, 2015

More than 1,000 of the criminal aliens immigration authorities released into the community while awaiting deportation in 2014 were then convicted of still more crimes ranging from kidnapping and sexual assault against a child to vehicular homicide, according to statistics released Tuesday.

The new data, released by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte, is part of a pushback against advocacy groups’ claims that immigration is a victimless crime. Instead, argue victim’s rights groups, the victims are innocent Americans who would never have suffered if the government had been enforcing the law.

Mr. Goodlatte released the data, based on Homeland Security information, as department Secretary Jeh Johnson prepared to testify Tuesday morning on his immigration enforcement priorities, which he said are trying to focus on serious criminals.

“Currently, 96 percent of all those detained by ICE and the Border Patrol fit within the top two out of the three enforcement priorities; 76 percent of those currently detained by ICE and the Border Patrol are in the top priority — convicted felons, those convicted of an offense that involves participation in a criminal street gang, those apprehended at the border while attempting to cross illegally, and anyone suspected of terrorism or espionage, or who otherwise poses a danger to national security,” Mr. Johnson says in his prepared testimony.

But lawmakers have been harshly critical of his department’s inability to keep and deport illegal immigrants that all sides agree are bad actors.

The latest incident was a shocking murder in San Francisco earlier this month. Authorities say the suspect in the killing had been deported five times before and was in the U.S. illegally, but had been released by San Francisco officials, despite a request that he be held for pickup by immigration agents, under that city’s sanctuary policy.

Obama administration officials say they often don’t have a choice in what illegal immigrants they release, saying sometimes their home countries refuse to take them back, and other times a court orders them released on bond while their deportation cases are proceeding.

Other times the agency does use its discretion to release them, with the understanding they will be subject to some sort of post-release monitoring. But of the 41,000 immigrations put through electronic monitoring in 2014, more than 30,000 of them broke the terms of their release, according to statistics The Washington Times published earlier this year.

Most of those awaiting deportation are illegal immigrants, though some are likely legal immigrants whose crimes were serious enough to violate the terms of their visas.

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