New Legislation Introduced to Stop DHS "Catch and Release" Policy For Dangerous Criminal Aliens

Katie Pavlich
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Posted: Jan 30, 2015 3:30 PM
New Legislation Introduced to Stop DHS "Catch and Release" Policy For Dangerous Criminal Aliens

The Department of Homeland Security currently has a policy in place known as "catch and release," meaning violent illegal aliens are arrested, processed and put back onto American streets if their home countries won't take them back. 

According to Judicary Comimittee Chairman Chuck Grassley's office, the policy was "created by a 2001 Supreme Court decision (Zadvydas v. Davis), which prohibits immigrants who had been ordered removed from being detained for more than six months. The Court expanded this decision to apply to all illegal immigrants in Clark v. Martinez in 2005."

This catch and release policy is not only demoralizing to Immigration and Border Patrol Agents, but it's dangerous and deadly. There are countless examples of violent assault and murders committed by illegal aliens after being arrested and released by federal authorities. 

A man accused of shooting a convenience store employee in Mesa, Arizona last Thursday faced deportation proceedings for two years prior to his arrest, authorities announced Tuesday.

After being convicted for facilitating a second-degree burglary, 29-year-old Apolinar Altamirano was released on a $10,000 bond in January 2013, the Arizona Republic reports. Since then, Altamirano, who has claimed ties to the Mexican Mafia, has been the subject of two separate injunctions for harassment because of death threats, but has not been detained. 

Newly re-introduced legislation, the Keep Our Communities Safe Act, would put an end to at least one type of catch a release policy by extending the amount of time DHS can detain "non-removable" illegal aliens whose home countries won't accept them. The legislation is co-sponsored by senators Jim Inhofe, David Vitter, Jeff Sessions, Chuck Grassley and Ted Cruz. 

The Keep Our Communities Safe Act would allow the Department of Homeland Security to detain non-removable immigrants beyond six months if:

the alien will be removed in the reasonably foreseeable future;

the alien would have been removed but for the alien’s refusal to make all reasonable efforts to comply and cooperate with the agency’s efforts to remove him;

the alien has a highly contagious disease;

release would have serious adverse foreign policy consequences;

release would threaten national security; or

release would threaten the safety of the community and the alien either is an aggravated felon or has committed a crime of violence.

According to Grassley's office, more than 36,000 criminally convicted illegal aliens were released in 2013. Since their release, 1,000 of these criminal aliens have been convicted of crimes like assault with a deadly weapon, child-rape, rape, participating in street gangs, aggravated assault, robbery, DUI, terroristic threats and more.

"The Zadvydas decision ties the hands of the federal government, forcing law enforcement to release dangerous criminals onto our streets because their home country won’t allow them back. The Obama administration has relied upon this ruling to release thousands of criminally convicted aliens, yet they’ve done nothing to fix the problem. This legislation corrects a very real problem with serious public safety implications,” Grassley said in a statement.