WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley and Representative Lamar Smith are asking for a full accounting from the Department of Homeland Security of the number of foreign nationals who have been released from federal and state prisons but not deported because their home counties failed to cooperate and how many of those individuals have been convicted of additional crimes.
In a letter to Secretary Janet Napolitano, Grassley and Smith described the case of a man suspected of killing five people in San Francisco in March after having been released from prison in 2006 but never deported because his home country of Vietnam did not provide necessary documents. When the individual was arrested this year, an official for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement could not say how many foreign nationals with deportation orders were released after home countries refused to respond.
A 2001 Supreme Court case said foreign nationals facing deportation cannot be held for more than 180 days. In their letter today, Grassley and Smith also asked if the Obama administration would support legislation to allow the Department of Homeland Security to detain these individuals beyond six months. They also asked for detailed information about federal efforts to get cooperation from home countries.
Grassley is Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Smith is Chairman of the Judiciary Committee in the House of Representatives.
Click here for a pdf copy of the Grassley-Smith letter.
Jill Kozeny, for Senator Grassley, 202-224-1308
Jessica Baker, for Chairman Smith, 202-225-3951