|For Immediate Release
December 6, 2010
Contact: Kimberly Smith
Washington, D.C. – House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Lamar Smith (R-Texas) issued the following statement in response to reports that political appointees at Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) used deceptive deportation practices in order to boost the Agency’s annual deportation numbers. According to reports, illegal immigrants who faced criminal charges were given the opportunity to voluntarily depart without receiving a criminal conviction on their record. This means many criminal aliens who would otherwise have been prohibited from traveling to the U.S. are not barred from applying for legal residence or entering the U.S. in the future. Additionally, media reports reveal that ICE included more than 19,000 deported immigrants from the prior fiscal year in their accounting.
Ranking Member Smith: “Allegations that ICE officials may have engaged in a coordinated effort to pad the Agency’s deportation numbers are troubling. Encouraging illegal immigrants facing criminal charges to take an ‘easy out’ rather than receive a conviction ultimately hurts the American people. It makes it easier for many illegal immigrants with dangerous prior records to return to the U.S. Congress has a responsibility to pursue the facts surrounding ICE deportation practices to ensure that the law is being enforced to the fullest extent.
“Deportation is not enough when it comes to addressing the problem of illegal immigration. Until the Obama Administration secures the U.S.-Mexico border, thousands of previously deported illegal immigrants will return to the U.S. each year. Meanwhile, Democrats in Congress are pushing for amnesty for an estimated two million illegal immigrants already in the U.S.
“Many American families are facing this holiday season with uncertainty due to the economy and increasing unemployment rates. Legalizing millions of illegal immigrants means more competition for scarce jobs. It is an insult to the millions of Americans struggling to make ends meet.
“When Congress returns in January, we will tackle issues like illegal immigration with the best interests of the American people in mind. We will promote policies to help grow the economy and put Americans back to work.”