U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials last year released 68,000 illegal immigrants with criminal convictions, undercutting Democratic claims that President Obama has strictly enforced immigration laws.
An internal Department of Homeland Security document compiling statistics on arrests and deportations in 2013 showed that ICE agents encountered 193,357 illegal immigrants with criminal convictions but issued charging documents for only 125,478. More than 67,800 were released.
The data came from an end-of-year “Weekly Departures and Detention Report.”
The Center for Immigration Studies, a research group that favors stricter enforcement of immigration laws, estimates ICE agents released more than a third of illegal immigrants with criminal records they detained.
“ICE released 68,000 criminal aliens in 2013, or 35 percent of the criminal aliens encountered by officers. The vast majority of these releases occurred because of the Obama administration’s prosecutorial discretion policies,” Jessica Vaughn, director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies, wrote in a memo summarizing the DHS document.
ICE classifies illegal immigrants as criminal if they have been convicted of a crime
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