Criminal Aliens Released by the Department of Homeland Security

Full House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
Full House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
Hearing Date: April 28, 2016 9:30 am 2154 Rayburn House Office Building

0428 Criminal AliensTAKEAWAYS:

  • The discretionary release of dangerous criminals by ICE places local communities at risk.
  • The Administration’s policies have led to the release of 86,288 criminal aliens who committed 231,074 crimes since 2013.
  • President Obama’s executive actions on immigration – announced in November 2014 – increase risk to public safety. Arrests, detainers issued, and removals at ICE are down almost 40 percent.
  • Failure to remove criminal aliens is not due to lack of resources. In July 2015, DHS leadership reprogrammed $113M from detention and removal operations to other DHS components. The Administration is requesting less money and fewer beds for ICE enforcement and removal operations.
  • DHS should work with the State Department to formally discontinue issuing visas to countries that refuse to repatriate their nationals who have been ordered removed. Chairman Chaffetz requested documentation of correspondence between DHS and State regarding notification of non-cooperation.


  • To examine the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) policies and procedures relating to the release of criminal aliens.
  • To assess the impact of those policies on public safety.


  • Each year, Immigration and Customs Enforcement releases tens of thousands of criminal aliens eligible for deportation. After release, many go on to commit additional crimes.
  • With new restrictions on immigration enforcement through the President’s executive actions, only narrow classes of removable aliens are priorities for arrest, questioning, detention, or removal. Therefore, millions of removable aliens will be able to remain in the country.


 Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT): “I want you to prioritize Americans rather than those other countries… Let’s know and understand which countries are not taking back the criminals that came here illegally and should be deported back into their country. ”

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC): Why [was] the killer of Sarah Root not detained…? I’m looking back so we can look forward and prevent the next one [from happening] and that’s about all we can do… look back and see what facts we were given.”

Government Operations Subcommittee Chairman Mark Meadows (R-NC): “How many drug dealers, how many rapists, how many kidnappers do you let get an ‘out of jail free card?’”

Witnesses and testimonies

Name Title Organization Panel Document
The Honorable Sarah R. Saldana Director, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Department of Homeland Security Document
Ralph Martin Chief of Police Santa Maria Police Department Document
Wendy Hartling Mother of Casey Chadwick Document
Scott Root Father of Sarah Root Document
Chris Burbank Director of Law Enforcement Engagement Center for Policing Equity Document

Related Documents

Name Document
ICE FY2015 Statistics Document
Transcript Document