Rejecting Detainers, Endangering Communities

Sanctuaries release thousands of criminals

Jul 13, 2015, 02:00 ET from Center for Immigration Studies

WASHINGTON, July 13, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The fatal shooting of Kathryn Steinle in San Francisco by an illegal alien with seven felony convictions and five prior deportations has brought national attention to the huge public safety price paid by communities when local and state law enforcement agencies do not comply with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainers or notifications.  A new report by the Center for Immigration Studies reveals that state and local sanctuary policies caused the release of more than 8,000 criminal alien offenders sought by ICE for deportation in 276 jurisdictions around the country over an eight-month period in 2014.

ICE records, obtained by the Center through a FOIA request, showed that sixty-three percent of the individuals freed by local authorities had serious prior criminal histories or were labeled a public safety concern, but were released anyway.  One-fourth of the aliens already had a felony conviction or charge.

Nearly 1,900 of the released offenders subsequently were arrested for another crime within that eight-month period, accumulating 7,491 new charges in total, within a short time after their release. More than 1,000 (60 percent) of these individuals were not re-arrested by ICE but remained at large.

View the entire report at: http://cis.org/ignoring-detainers-endangering-communities
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Jessica Vaughan, the Center's Director of Policy Studies and author of the report, said, "ICE's analysis shines a light on the public safety problems created when local sanctuary policies cause the release of criminal aliens that ICE is seeking for deportation.  San Francisco's sanctuary policies do not represent mainstream law-enforcement practice in America, but they are more widespread than is commonly realized.  To prevent further harm, Congress needs to take action by clarifying in federal law that complying with ICE detainers and notifications is not optional.  Further, those jurisdictions that do not comply with all detainers should face sanctions and be debarred from certain kinds of federal funding.  The Davis-Oliver Act, which is not pending in Congress, has provisions to address this problem directly."

The ICE analysis presented in Vaughan's report includes examples of individual cases of crimes committed by criminal aliens who were shielded from deportation by local and state jurisdictions. Vaughan says, "The problem of sanctuaries is likely to get worse now that the Obama administration has ended the Secure Communities program and given agencies free rein to ignore ICE detainers and notifications under the new Priority Enforcement Program."

The Center for Immigration Studies is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit research organization founded in 1985. It is the nation's only think tank devoted exclusively to research and policy analysis of the economic, social, demographic, fiscal, and other impacts of immigration on the United States.

Contact: Bryan Griffith
press@cis.org, 202-466-8185

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SOURCE Center for Immigration Studies