‘Worst Prison Break in History’: ICE Releases 36,000 Convict Immigrants

While the Obama Administration has been peddling the story that its immigration policy is focused on getting the worst criminal immigrants deported, ICE actually released more than 36,000 convicted criminal aliens last year, including murderers, rapists and drunk drivers, according to an internal Department of Homeland Security document obtained by the Center for Immigration Studies.

Last year, it was widely reported that ICE, part of the DHS, had released 622 immigrants with multiple felony convictions. The president blamed that release on sequester cuts, which of course were blamed on Republicans, even though all the “cuts” were picked by the White House to cause maximum annoyance to the public. (Remember the national monument closures?)

The reality is almost 50 times that many criminals, who had been involved in deportation hearings, were released. Between them, the 36,007 immigrants had nearly 88,000 convictions.

Jessica Vaughan, policy director at the Center for Immigration Studies, said, “We keep hearing from the Administration that they are focused like a laser on enforcement against the worst of the worst, convicted criminals, as their top priority. On the other hand, they are releasing, at a rate of about 100 a day, aliens from their custody with criminal convictions, and many of them are serious criminal convictions.”

According to the document, included among the immigrants’ 87,818 crimes were 15,635 cases of drunken driving, 9,187 drug infractions, 426 sexual assaults, 303 kidnappings, 193 homicides, 1,317 domestic violence convictions and 1,075 aggravated assaults.

Texas Rep. Lamar Smith said in a statement, “This would be considered the worst prison break in American history, except it was sanctioned by the president and perpetrated by our own immigration officials. These criminal immigrants should have been deported to ensure that they could never commit crimes on U.S. soil. But instead, ICE officials chose not to detain them and instead released them back onto American streets.”

The newly released document shows that the Obama Administration’s wanton release of criminals is far worse than previously suspect. In addition to the reports of 622 releases last year, a book titled “Impeachable Offenses: The Case to Remove Barack Obama,” by Aaron Klein and Brenda J. Elliott, released last August had found ICE documents saying more than 8,000 criminal aliens had been released between fiscal years 2009 and 2011, including more than 800 “Level I” offenders deemed a serious threat to public safety released in 2009 alone.

A 2011 ICE audit blamed the releases on “staffing challenges,” saying most occurred when ICE agents failed to file the required paperwork within 48 hours to keep the detainees in jail.

In August 2012, a Congressional Research Service report stated the “decision not to deport some arrested illegal immigrants enabled a crime wave.”

That report said that between 2008 and 2011, criminal immigrants who had been released by ICE were later “charged with 16,226 subsequent crimes, including 19 murders, 142 sex crimes and thousands of drunk-driving offenses, drug crimes and felonies.”

In its budget request this year, according to the Washington Times, ICE has asked for funding for 30,500 detention beds, down from the current 34,000, saying it doesn’t need to hold as many detainees.

While the ICE blames most of the releases, at least of murderers, on court decisions, the mass release of dangerous felons by the Obama Administration fits a pattern of pandering to illegal immigrants and of deliberately crippling enforcement of our borders.

Border Patrol and other law enforcement agents have complained that they are hamstrung by Obama policies that force them not to arrest people who should be processed through the system.

The Administration’s contempt for the law grows daily.