Would I.C.E. Free Scott Peterson?

Hank Adler

5/19/2014 9:13:00 AM - Hank Adler

If convicted wife murderer Scott Peterson was a citizen of Lithuania, subject to deportation to Lithuania and Lithuania refused to take him, would U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)believe that the law requires that Scott Peterson be released from prison?

"In March 2003, the Homeland Security Act set into motion what would be the single-largest government reorganization since the creation of the Department of Defense. One of the agencies in the new Department of Homeland Security was the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, now known as U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement or ICE. ICE was granted a unique combination of civil and criminal authorities to better protect national security and public safety in answer to the tragic events on 9/11." From the ICE website.

In a recently issued report by the Center for Immigration Studies, in 2013, ICE released over 36,000 convicted criminal aliens from detention. These individuals were awaiting the outcome of deportation proceedings. Included in the releases were individuals convicted of 193 homicides, 303 kidnappings and 426 sexual assaults. (There is no data with respect to the original charges in each case and resulting plea agreements in any of the 36,000 convictions.) Forget the ICE website, I am not feeling so good about ICE's role in protecting public safety.

Apparently, these individuals were released, at least in part, because of a 2001 Supreme Court decision, Zadvydas v. Davis, a decision that prevents ICE from indefinitely detaining certain aliens whose countries will not accept them back.

ICE reports to Homeland Security and Homeland Security reports to the President of the United States. There should be no surprises here. It has been more than a decade since Zadvydas v. Davis. It was the President's job to know that murderers were being released from prison as it is the job of the Department of Homeland Security to inform him of such actions long before they take place.

If releasing murderers into the general population of the United States of America is not either acceptable to or the actual goal and objective of U.S. immigration policy, there should have been legislation passed to change the results emanating from Zadvydas v. Davis.

If there is a member of Congress or the Administration who believes releasing convicted murderers, kidnappers and rapists from prison is a good idea, let them speak up. It should not matter whether the murderer is Scott Peterson or an foreign alien. For that matter, it should not matter if it is a alien from a different solar system.

The President and Congressional leadership should be proposing and passing specific and precise non-partisan legislation that will allow and require ICE to hold convicted murderers, kidnappers and rapists in prison without sparking a discussion of anything to do with immigration policy.

HR 2251 made its way through Congress and was signed by the President in December. HR 2251 named a courthouse and federal building in Fergus Falls, Minnesota, as the "Edward J. Devitt United States Courthouse and Federal Building". With all due respect to the late Edward J. Devitt, a former one term Congressman and Federal judge who died in 1992, if Congress can find time to honor Mr. Devitt, our elected Congress and the President should be able to find equal time to keep convicted murderers, kidnappers and rapists off our streets.