WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, joined senators Jim Inhofe, Jeff Sessions, David Vitter and Ted Cruz in reintroducing the Keep Our Communities Safe Act. This legislation would change a dangerous policy that allows individuals in the country illegally who have been detained for six months to be released into society if their home country refuses to take them back. Because of this policy, many criminal aliens are released, jeopardizing public safety.
The policy was created by a 2001 Supreme Court decision (Zadvydas v. Davis), which prohibits immigrants who had been ordered removed from being detained for more than six months. The Court expanded this decision to apply to all illegal immigrants in Clark v. Martinez in 2005.
“The Zadvydas decision ties the hands of the federal government, forcing law enforcement to release dangerous criminals onto our streets because their home country won’t allow them back. The Obama administration has relied upon this ruling to release thousands of criminally convicted aliens, yet they’ve done nothing to fix the problem. This legislation corrects a very real problem with serious public safety implications,” Grassley said.
In 2013, 36,007 criminally convicted aliens were released by U.S. immigration officials, and 1,000 of them have since been convicted of a number of crimes, including:
• assault with a deadly weapon;
• terroristic threats;
• failure to register as a sex offender;
• lewd acts with a child under 14;
• aggravated assault;
• criminal street gang;
• rape spouse by force; and
• child cruelty: possible injury/death.
The Keep Our Communities Safe Act would allow the Department of Homeland Security to detain non-removable immigrants beyond six months if:
• the alien will be removed in the reasonably foreseeable future;
• the alien would have been removed but for the alien’s refusal to make all reasonable efforts to comply and cooperate with the agency’s efforts to remove him;
• the alien has a highly contagious disease;
• release would have serious adverse foreign policy consequences;
• release would threaten national security; or
• release would threaten the safety of the community and the alien either is an aggravated felon or has committed a crime of violence.