A group of Senate Republicans is asking President Joe Biden’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) “what message does” their seeking to halt deportations for illegal aliens, including criminals, send to the legal immigrant and American victims.
Hours after taking office on January 20, Biden’s DHS issued a memo halting deportations of most illegal aliens for at least 100 days. Nearly a week later, a federal judge temporarily blocked the implementation of the deportation halt after a suit was filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.
In a letter to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Ben Sasse (R-NE), John Cornyn (R-TX), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Mike Lee (R-UT), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Tom Cotton (R-AR), and James Lankford (R-OK) asks the agency for data regarding criminal illegal aliens in custody and those not yet in custody who would benefit from the policy.
Specifically, the Senate Republicans ask what kind of message the policy sends to Angel Families who have lost loved ones as a result of illegal immigration.
“It turns our nation of laws into a nation of loopholes,” the Senate Republicans write in the letter. “It is an insult to the men and women of DHS who have sworn to uphold those laws … what message does this send to their victims — both past and future?”
The letter continues:
With respect to the 100-day deportation moratorium, we noted with alarm that there is no general exception to the moratorium for criminal aliens. Under the terms of the memorandum, unless the ICE Director determines that the law requires a specific criminal alien be removed, most criminal aliens with final removal orders will be untouchable as long as the deportation moratorium is in place. Given that 92% of ICE … interior removals from the United States in FY2020 had criminal convictions or pending criminal charges, the failure to exempt all criminal aliens from the deportation moratorium seems particularly egregious. [Emphasis added]
It should also be noted that ICE is unable to execute a final order of removal unless that order is administratively final—that is, the individual has already availed himself of all due process and been ordered removed by an immigration judge or other Congressionally-established lawful process. Ordering ICE officers to ignore a judge’s order is an untenable situation and will most certainly undercut the public’s trust in law enforcement at a time when keeping that trust is critical. It will likely lead to another scandal for the agency, similar to that which happened in 2013, when thousands of criminal aliens were released from custody. [Emphasis added]
We are also concerned that the 100-day deportation moratorium could cause a surge of releases of aliens, including many criminals, from ICE detention. In the case of Zadvydas v. Davis, 533 U.S. 678 (2001), the Supreme Court held that an alien in ICE detention generally could not be held longer than 6 months if their removal is unlikely to take place in the “reasonably foreseeable future.” [Emphasis added]
The full letter can be read here:
The Senate Republicans are asking that by February 17, Mayorkas send them data on all ICE detainees, and those not yet detained, who have final deportation orders broken down by their criminal records and pending charges against them.
The policy, as noted by researchers at the Center for Immigration Studies, would make it impossible for ICE agents to deport illegal aliens unless they are known or suspected terrorists, convicted terrorists, or recently convicted aggravated felons. For example, an MS-13 Gang member arrested with a criminal record who has not recently been convicted of an aggravated felony would be allowed to stay in the U.S. without fear of deportation for the time being.
In 2018, about 88 percent of illegal aliens deported by ICE were not convicted aggravated felons. At similar rates, the data suggests that the policy would ensure that about 9-in-10 illegal aliens who would have otherwise been deported by ICE would remain in the country.
Deportations for illegal aliens is a huge cost-savings for American taxpayers, research has found. The taxpayer cost of the roughly 11 million to 22 million illegal aliens living across the U.S. totals nearly $750 billion over the course of a lifetime while each deportation costs just $10,900. This indicates that taxpayers would save about $622 billion over a lifetime if every illegal alien were deported.