Washington, D.C. – The Center for Immigration Studies recently obtained a document that shows U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released over 36,000 convicted criminal aliens in deportation proceedings in Fiscal Year 2013. Among them, the 36,000 had nearly 88,000 convictions, including 16,070 drunk or drugged driving convictions, 9,187 dangerous drug convictions, 426 sexual assault convictions, 303 kidnapping convictions, and 193 homicide convictions.

Last month, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Congressman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), and several other members of the House Judiciary Committee wrote to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson requesting this information as well as additional information on criminal aliens identified by Secure Communities and released into communities across the United States. This letter was a follow up to an earlier letter sent by Congressman Smith to DHS. To date, the Department has failed to respond to the letter.

Chairman Goodlatte and Congressman Smith released the joint statement below on the information recently revealed by the Center for Immigration Studies.

“Regardless of one’s position on the larger immigration reform question, it’s incredibly alarming that tens of thousands of convicted criminal aliens – including hundreds of murderers, kidnappers, and rapists – who were processed for deportation are being freed into our communities by the Obama Administration.  The truth is that most could be detained by immigration enforcement authorities if the Administration had the will to do so. These criminals should be locked up, not roaming our streets.  Unfortunately, history tells us that many will go on to become fugitives from the law and commit additional crimes against American citizens and law-abiding immigrants. We must hold the Department of Homeland Security accountable for its actions and make sure it does everything possible to protect U.S. citizens from dangerous criminal aliens.

“Over a month ago, the House Judiciary Committee requested that DHS provide information about criminal aliens identified by federal authorities and released into our communities but our questions have gone unanswered. This information is important to inform Congress about the problem of criminal aliens so that we make the right policy decisions moving forward. The Committee plans to hold an oversight hearing on DHS in the coming weeks and will expect Secretary Johnson to come clean and provide the Committee with answers to our questions.”