Released undocumented immigrants re-arrested

handcuffsOver 1,800 undocumented immigrants who were ordered to be deported by the federal government but were instead released from where they were being held in local jails went on to be re-arrested for subsequent crimes, according to a new government report released yesterday.

The report from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) says that the immigrants concerned were among 8,145 individuals released between January and August last year, despite requests by federal agents for them to be kept in custody until they were deported. The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), which is based in Washington and is actively opposed to illegal immigration, says that 23% of those released ended up being arrested yet again for a variety of different crimes.

A number of jurisdictions have begun stopping the practice of honoring what is referred to as ‘immigration detainers’ on the grounds that they cannot hold people who have been arrested unless there is probable cause. On July 1st, in San Francisco,  a woman was shot dead by such an immigrant in a case that has drawn national attention. Drunk driving and drug violations are the main crimes for which the released undocumented immigrants were re-arrested; however, the report also mentions more serious crimes, including sex offenses against a child.

“This is a genuine safety problem, and also a crisis for immigration enforcement,” claims the director of policy studies at the CIS, Jessica Vaughan; however, immigrant advocates claim that ICE has the knowledge and the power to arrest detained undocumented immigrants without the need for immigration detainers.