The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been releasing illegal immigrants with violent criminal records back into local U.S. communities, where they have often gone on to commit violent crimes against American citizens, according to new disclosures by a leading lawmaker and local law enforcement agencies.
Rep. Matt Salmon (R., Ariz.) and law enforcement officials petitioned the Obama administration on Wednesday to end a policy that enables illegal immigrants with criminal records to be released back into the United States.
Arizona law enforcement officials announced on Tuesday that three illegal aliens with violent criminal records had been released by DHS and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) back onto the streets, where they went on to commit crimes including kidnapping and murdering an infant.
The ongoing release of criminals from countries such as Iraq, Sudan, and Russia prompted Salmon to petition DHS "to stop freeing violent criminals who are in our country illegally," according to a copy of letter sent to the department and obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.
At least three illegal aliens released by DHS in recent weeks have been charged with serious crimes, including the beating of a 7-week-old baby and immolation of a person, according to local law enforcement and Salmon.
"Despite the repeated attacks on American citizens by illegal aliens released from our jails, DHS refuses to stop freeing violent criminals who are in our country illegally," Salmon wrote in his letter to DHS. "Just today, we learned of three more individuals set free on law-abiding Arizonans by the Department of Homeland Security. Their crimes included the beating to death of a seven-week-old baby and the stabbing, beating, and immolation of a police informant."
One of those released is accused of kidnapping and murdering a police informant "by taking him to a wilderness area where he beat, stabbed, and lit his gasoline-soaked body on fire," according to Salmon.
"Instead of immediately deporting them to their country of origin, ICE released these criminals into Arizona and … chose not to inform local law enforcement before the release of these criminals was completed," Salmon wrote.
Salmon and officials in Arizona law enforcement are demanding DHS do more to prevent such releases.
"U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement under current law can no longer legally hold the three individuals," ICE press secretary Gillian Christensen said. "To further promote public safety and transparency, ICE notified local law enforcement agencies of the release of the individuals."
"To be clear, the backgrounds of the individuals in question would generally make them enforcement priorities for ICE," Christensen continued. "However, ICE has no legal basis for continuing to hold these individuals."
Christensen said one individual is a lawful permanent resident and the other two were released due to a Supreme Court decision.
"ICE has been releasing these criminal illegal immigrants into local communities, that we as Sheriffs are sworn to protect," the Arizona Sheriff’s Association (ASA) warned in a statement issued Tuesday. "You don’t have to be the Sheriff or a uniformed patrol deputy to realize that these dangerous criminals will reoffend and victimize our Arizona families."
Just last week, ICE began to notify local law enforcement agencies of the release of violent illegal aliens. The implementation of this notification system comes after years of pressure from local law enforcement officials.
ICE notified Arizona law officials that three violent illegal aliens had been released back into the community.
"This first such notification of three dangerous criminal illegals has Arizona Sheriffs angry and concerned for the public's safety," the ASA said in its statement.
The issue has long plagued local law enforcement agencies, which have found themselves struggling to protect local communities after the Obama administration frees criminal illegal aliens.
In 2013, ICE freed 36,007 illegal aliens with criminal convictions across the nation, according to statistics compiled by Arizona law enforcement. At least 193 of those aliens released were convicted of homicides, 426 were convicted of sex crimes, and 303 convicted of kidnapping.
"The releases typically occurred without formal notice to local law enforcement agencies and victims," according to the ASA.
In 2014, federal authorities released another 30,558 illegal aliens with criminal records.
"By simply notifying Sheriffs of the release of dangerous criminals doesn’t address the core problem that these dangerous criminals remain in America," the ASA said.
Salmon says he is seeking a larger fix to the problem.
"Our Department of Homeland Security needs to focus more on securing our homeland, not on cornering the market as a transportation option for illegal aliens in the United States," he wrote to DHS. "Americans need protection from violent criminals and an explanation for why DHS has been so miserably failing at their primary task."
"How many more Americans must be murdered by illegal alien criminals before this administration begins taking the safety of Americans seriously?" the lawmaker asked.
Salmon went on to note that in one instance a illegal alien released by ICE was later apprehended and charged with "kidnapping, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, armed robbery, sexual abuse, and child molestation."
"Obviously this is a direct result of this administration’s dangerous policy of releasing tens of thousands of criminal illegal aliens onto our streets and into our communities," Salmon said.
"Simply, put, there is no excuse for ICE to be releasing violent, criminal illegal aliens back onto our streets and into our communities," Salmon wrote.