Public Safety, National Security Priority of the SAFE Act

Aug 26, 2013, 09:42 ET from Center for Immigration Studies

House Judiciary Bill Would Restore Enforcement

WASHINGTON, Aug. 26, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new Center for Immigration Studies analysis of the SAFE Act (H.R. 2278) finds that the bill would improve public safety by getting tougher on illegal alien criminals. Crimes like the horrific murder of 19-year-old Vanessa Pham in Virginia, whose killer had escaped deportation despite prior arrests; the drunk driving crash in Virginia that killed Sister Denise Mosier, which was the illegal alien driver's third DUI offense; and the recent series of three rapes in Lake Highland, Texas, all might have been prevented with the tools and practices mandated by the SAFE Act.


"We are told that illegal immigrants are in this country to do the jobs Americans won't do, but unfortunately crime is not a job Americans won't do," says Jessica Vaughan, Director of Policy Studies at the Center. "The SAFE Act will give ICE and local law enforcement agencies the tools they need to rid our communities of criminals and others who are living here in defiance of our laws. Police and sheriffs, as well as career immigration enforcement officials, who have witnessed the recent decline in enforcement with concern, have welcomed this bill as a constructive alternative to the Schumer-Rubio bill."

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In contrast to the Schumer-Rubio amnesty bill (S.744), which would legalize nearly half the ICE criminal alien caseload, the House Judiciary committee has approved readable, logical legislation presently in stand-alone pieces that address the need for more enforcement first. The need is clear, in light of the federal court statistics showing that non-citizens make up more than 9 percent of all murderers, 31 percent of all drug traffickers, 49 percent of all kidnappers, 31 percent of all money launderers, 17 percent of all auto thieves, and 24 percent of all federal-level fraudsters, sentenced in 2012.

The SAFE Act will help reverse the recent steep decline in enforcement by institutionalizing cooperation between ICE and local law enforcement and closing loopholes in federal law that allow criminal aliens to enter and stay. Key findings of the analysis include:

  • The SAFE Act would establish federal supremacy in immigration law, but preserve the ability of state and local governments to enact and enforce ordinances within certain parameters, recognizing that the impact of illegal immigration is felt most profoundly at the local level.

  • To assist ICE in locating the approximately one million aliens who are arrested for state and local crimes each year, the bill encourages local law enforcement agencies to assist in enforcement. It balances a mandate for local agencies to cooperate with ICE with a requirement for ICE to respond to local requests for ICE to take custody of criminal aliens. It improves information sharing in both directions to facilitate cooperation.

  • The act clarifies that local jails must not release criminals who will be deported and penalizes sanctuary jurisdictions that obstruct enforcement.

  • The SAFE Act incorporates recommendations from career senior ICE officials that would make it easier to disrupt and remove terrorists, gang members, fraudsters, and other dangerous people. It also would make it harder for such individuals to receive visas, asylum, green cards, citizenship, or other benefits.

  • Unlike the Senate Gang of Eight bill (S.744), which would excuse a huge array of crimes and immigration fraud committed by illegal aliens seeking amnesty, the SAFE Act would deal firmly with those who have been arrested for drunk driving, sex crimes, gang crimes, espionage, identity theft, immigration fraud, repeat offenses, and other serious violations by providing for expedited removal and limiting appeals and waivers.

  • The SAFE Act seeks to restore integrity to our immigration system by cracking down on those who game the system by submitting frivolous applications, who ignore deportation orders, or who fail to appear for hearings. ICE estimates that there are more than 850,000 aliens living here despite being ordered removed, and even more who have failed to show up for hearings.

View the Senate bill, CIS Senate testimony and commentary at:

The Center for Immigration Studies is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit research organization. Since its founding in 1985, the Center has pursued a single mission – providing immigration policymakers, the academic community, news media, and concerned citizens with reliable information about the social, economic, environmental, security, and fiscal consequences of legal and illegal immigration into the United States.

Contact: Marguerite Telford

SOURCE Center for Immigration Studies