DHS IG: Nearly 5,000 Aliens in Supervised Release Program Committed Crimes, Absconded

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Edwin Mora
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Article date: 
Wednesday, February 18, 2015
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WASHINGTON — An estimated 5,000 aliens were either arrested for committing crimes or absconded over a three year period while they were participating in a supervision program that allowed them to be released from detention and into U.S. communities, the latest publicly available data shows.

In an audit released earlier this month, John Roth, the inspector general (IG) for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), revealed that a total of 2,010 aliens were arrested for committing crimes while they were participating in a supervised release program in 2010 (576), 2011 (729), and 2012 (705).

Furthermore, the DHS watchdog found that a total of 2,760 aliens absconded while they were enrolled in the same scheme over the same period — 2010 (927),  2011 (982), and 2012 (851)...

“Under the program, ICE supervises aliens it has released from detention, and monitors them electronically,” explained the DHS auditor in a report on ICE’s alternatives to detention. “As a condition of release, ICE requires aliens to appear in immigration court for removal proceedings and comply with removal orders from the United States.”...

Roth concluded that it is uncertain whether the program has reduced the rate at which released aliens have absconded or committed criminal acts.

ICE releases aliens “by means of bond; order of recognizance (unsupervised); order of supervision (which can consist of nothing more than a periodic telephone call to a designated ICE telephone number); an alternative to detention (such as an electronic ankle bracelet, or other form of tracking device); or parole (a form of legal status),” explained the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS).

The inspector general revealed that 1,341 ISAP program participants violated the conditions of their supervised release, but added that ICE “does not have sufficient resources to re-detain participants who willfully violate [the program’s] terms of supervision, such as those who tamper with GPS monitors or miss appointments.”

ICE enrolls aliens in the program who are “at high risk of committing criminal acts, absconding, or violating the terms of their release” by committing crimes or failing to report, reported the IG....

Mr. Roth revealed that ICE lacks funding “for the number of beds needed to accommodate program violators.”

However, in responding to the report, ICE said it has sufficient detention capacity to accommodate non-compliant participants.

As of February 2014, there were 22,201 program participants.

Congress appropriated approximately $90 million for the program for fiscal year 2014.

According to the audit, ICE does not evaluate the rate at which aliens abscond after they are recommended for release.

In 2013, the CIS found, “ICE freed 36,007 convicted criminal aliens from detention who were awaiting the outcome of deportation proceedings.”

Among those aliens were criminals convicted of serious crimes, including homicide, sexual assault, kidnapping, and aggravated assault.

Also included were 16,000 aliens convicted of drunk and drugged driving.

Citing a DHS document, Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, revealed that 1,000 of the 36,000-plus criminal aliens released in 2013 went on to commit new crimes, including drunk-driving, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault.