The Washington Times reported last week that federal authorities had to release 2,837 convicted sex offenders who are illegal aliens, and why? Because their home countries refuse to allow their deportation.
You can thank the 2001 Supreme Court for this nugget. In the Zadvydas case, the Court decided 5-4 that detention for immigration purposes can’t be punitive; therefore, if there isn't a likelihood someone can be deported, they generally have to be released. Not released into an illegal immigration detention center (another thorny subject,) just released into the community. May be yours.
A report released by The Government Accountability Office (GAO) announced that these criminals are only a part of the 59,347 immigrants who since Sept. 2012, the courts have ruled cannot be held, and whom the U.S. has been unable to send home, and instead were released, assumedly under some sort of supervision. It was then the responsibility of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to ensure the sex offenders registered with authorities according to state and local laws and then were supervised. Yes, that means although these offenders are in our country illegally, they are released back into the wild, often never to be seen again, that is, until they re-offend.
Speaking of which,the GAO estimates that as of September 2012, only 72 percent of alien sex offenders were registered, 22 percent were not required to register, and 5 percent did not register, but should have. Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies said, “I’m surprised that only 5 percent of them are not properly registered.” She continued that ICE isn't particularly rigorous about monitoring many of those it releases.
Judy Rabinovitz, deputy director at the American Civil Liberties Union’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, told the Times that once another country refuses to accept its people for repatriation, the government is supposed to begin refusing to issue travel visas for citizens of that country to visit the U.S. "When you start denying student visas — any narrow category that you want, that hits people in the ruling elite in that other country — they start paying attention. That is the best leverage we have with people in other countries, is visas, because they all want to come here, go to school here, go to Vegas, Disney World, whatever.” Unfortunately, Ms. Vaughan said the Department of Homeland Security hasn't been proactive in pushing the visa retaliation.
Alternatively, one Republican immigration bill, which cleared the Judiciary Committee this year, would give the Homeland Security secretary the power to indefinitely order the detention of immigrants who are deemed to be public safety threats. The problem remains that instead of putting the responsibility back on the legal residence of the sex offender, we create yet another prison system to house and support these criminals indefinitely. Sounds expensive, albeit, necessary until deported.
Ms. Rabinovitz at the ACLU said giving ICE permanent detention powers could be unconstitutional and is certainly misguided. She said the agency should be trying to figure out ways to reduce the population of detainees. OK, good point, but her solution is equally misguided:
“It’s just stupid,” she said. “We’re talking about a situation where we’re spending so much money on detention, we’re in a period of fiscal straits where we should be concerned about spending our money. To lock up people who aren't a flight risk doesn't make sense. All we’re saying is provide them with a bond hearing.”
How is this any different that what we are already doing? Illegal alien sex offenders do not seem to be a set of people concerned with following the rules, i.e., losing their bond money. Point two, sex offenders commit crimes here, there, everywhere. Reducing the flight risk does not reduce the risk to our families in whichever neighborhood these offenders reside.
Surely we can come up with a better plan than this. Oh wait! We did. Cut off visas to countries who won't take back their own citizens. Seems like a pretty big stick. May be we should stop waving it and start using it.