Appearing before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Thursday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director Sarah Saldana provided misleading testimony on the Obama administration’s release of criminal aliens. According to ICE statistics, 19,273 criminal illegal aliens (with over 64,000 convictions) were released back onto the streets during FY2015. Saldana, doing her best impression that her hands are tied in the matter, told the committee that at least two-thirds of those released were because of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Zadvydas v. Davis. That case held that a convicted criminal alien who had completed his sentence but whose country or origin refused repatriation could not be detained indefinitely.
Apparently Director Saldana did not expect anyone to actually look into the figures (which were released just moments before the hearing started—a favored tactic by the Obama administration). In reality, of the 19,723 criminal aliens released in FY2015, only 2,166 were because of the Zadvydas case. If that number seems less than two-thirds of the overall total, you are better at math than the ICE Director. Indeed, merely 11% were released because of Zadvydas while 7,293—or 37%–were returned to the streets of America because of “ICE discretion.”
Thursday’s hearing is just the latest example of Director Saldana being out of touch when it comes to protecting the safety of Americans. At a number of prior hearings she has insisted that ICE was “forced” to release criminal aliens (because of Zadvydas) when they really wanted to keep them detained. The actual numbers show this claim is patently false. Additionally, just a few weeks ago Saldana had the audacity to say that ICE refused to assume custody of the illegal alien who killed Sarah Root while drag racing drunk because this did “not constitute a crime of violence.”
Sarah Root’s father—who testified at this same hearing—and mother—who testified at a different hearing last week—would beg to differ that the senseless death of their daughter was not a “crime of violence.”
Unfortunately, Sarah Root is just the latest example of needless American deaths at the hands of illegal aliens because the Obama administration prioritizes criminal aliens over U.S. citizens.