|For Immediate Release
May 23, 2011
Contact: Jessica Baker, 202-225-3951
Chairman Smith Introduces Keep Our Communities Safe Act
Washington, DC – House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today introduced the Keep Our Communities Safe Act (H.R. 1932) to stop the release of dangerous criminal immigrants into American communities.
In the 2001 decision of Zadvydas v. Davis, the Supreme Court ruled that under current law, immigrants who had been admitted to the U.S. and then ordered removed could not be detained for more than six months. In the 2005 case of Clark v. Martinez, the Supreme Court expanded its decision in Zadvydas to apply to illegal immigrants. The problem with both of these rulings is that not every criminal immigrant who is ordered removed can be because of the unwillingness of some countries to issue travel documents necessary for repatriation.
As a result, the Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have had no choice but to release thousands of criminal immigrants into our neighborhoods. In the last two years, close to 10,000 immigrants with orders of removal were released because their own countries refused to take them back. Justice Department officials have stated that these criminal immigrants include rapists, child molesters, murderers, and other dangerous criminals.
Chairman Smith: “Because of the way current law is written, recent Supreme Court rulings have required dangerous criminal immigrants to be released into our communities. All too often these criminal immigrants have gone on to commit more crimes. Just because a criminal immigrant cannot be returned to their home country does not mean they should be allowed back on our streets. If dangerous criminal immigrants cannot be deported, they should be detained.
“There is no excuse for placing American lives at risk. Congress can prevent this from happening in the future. That is why I have introduced the Keep Our Communities Safe Act, which will allow dangerous criminal immigrants to be detained longer than six months. Our government should have the authority to do its job of making our country safer.”
The Immigration Subcommittee will hold a hearing on H.R. 1932, the Keep Our Communities Safe Act on Tuesday, May 24 at 10:00 am.
Background Information on H.R. 1932: This bill will allow DHS to detain dangerous criminal immigrants beyond six months who are under orders of removal but cannot be deported if the following conditions are met:
The immigrant will be removed in the reasonably foreseeable future;
The immigrant would have been removed but for the immigrant’s refusal to make all reasonable efforts to comply and cooperate with the Secretary’s efforts to remove him;
The immigrant 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 immigrant either is an aggravated felon or has committed a crime of violence.
Bill Text PDF: "Keep Our Communities Safe Act of 2011"