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June 11, 2014

INHOFE, SENATORS INTRODUCE BILL TO CLOSE CATCH-AND-RELEASE LOOPHOLE

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) today introduced Keep Our Communities Safe Act 2014 with Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), David Vitter (R-La.), and Ted Cruz (R-Texas). The legislation would close the legal loophole created by the U.S. Supreme Court in Zadvydas v. Davis (2001) that requires immigration authorities to release back into the United States any immigrant that has not been accepted for deportation to other countries after being detained for six months; a practice commonly referred to as “catch and release.”

“Currently our federal government releases back into the United States any immigrant that no other country will accept for deportation, including those who have committed a crime of violence or an aggravated felony,” said Sen. Jim Inhofe. “By releasing these criminals back into our communities we are allowing them to commit even more crimes against Americans. From 2008-2012, nearly 17,000 immigrants with orders of removal were released back into our communities. And now, just last month, we learned that this number has more than doubled in one year. In 2013 alone, more than 36,000 criminally convicted aliens were released by ICE because their home countries had yet to take them back. The Keep Our Communities Safe Act requires the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to recertify every six months if a person is a threat, and will close the catch-and-release loop hole on these offenders. I urge Congress to take up this legislation and help protect Americans from the several thousands of violent offenders currently being released back into the United States each year.”

“The Zadvydas decision has limited the federal government’s ability to detain aliens who have been ordered removed,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley. “Since then, the Obama administration has relied upon the ruling in Zadvydas to release thousands of criminally convicted aliens. However, they have refused to help fix it. We’re moving forward with this bill and closing the legal loophole that requires ICE to release dangerous criminals onto the streets of America.  This matter needs to be taken seriously.” 

“This loophole is just one of many examples that our immigration system is severely broken,” said Sen. David Vitter. “Not only that - it puts our families and our communities at risk by releasing criminals back into our neighborhoods, Vitter said. “This makes no sense. We need to be enforcing our immigration laws first – like increasing our border security and detaining criminals—not giving a free pass to illegal aliens.”

This bill allows for DHS to detain non-removable immigrants beyond six months in these specific situations:

  • The alien will be removed in the reasonably foreseeable future;
  • The alien would have been removed but for the alien’s refusal to make all reasonable efforts to comply and cooperate with the Secretary’s efforts to remove him;
  • The alien has a highly contagious disease;
  • Release would have serious adverse foreign policy consequences;
  • Release would threaten national security; or
  • Release would threaten the safety of the community and the alien either is an aggravated felon or has committed a crime of violence.

Background:

A Vietnamese immigrant, Binh Thai Luc, was ordered deported in 2006 after serving time in prison for armed robbery and assault. Due to the Supreme Court decision in Zadvydas v.Davis, Luc was released from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody when Vietnam refused to admit him. He is now facing charges for the murder of 5 people in San Francisco in March of 2012.

In 2013, more than 36,000 criminally convicted aliens were released by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Together, those released had nearly 88,000 convictions, including:

  • 193 homicide convictions
  • 426 sexual Assault convictions
  • 1,075 aggravated assault convictions
  • 16,070 DUI convictions

 

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