Study: Immigration Bill Legalizes 45% of ICE's Criminal Caseload

Craig Bannister
By Craig Bannister | May 23, 2013 | 4:53 PM EDT

Nearly half (45%) of illegal aliens arrested on criminal charges would be eligible for legal status under the immigration bill S. 744, analysis by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) shows.

Looking at Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) records from its Secure Communities program for the six month period Oct. 1, 2012 to March 31, 2013, the analysis shows that 17,208 of 38,547 (45%) criminal illegal aliens would be eligible for legalization under the bill despite their offenses.

The 17,208 criminal illegal aliens are classified as by ICE as "Level 3 offenders in ICE parlance (convicted of fewer than three misdemeanors on separate occasions), fugitives, prior removals and returns, illegal border crossers, and over-stayers and visa violators," the analysis shows.

It cites an illegal alien convicted of negligent vehicular homicide as an example of the type of criminal alien who would qualify for legalization under the bill:

"This group would include the likes of Manuel Zaruma, a 24-year old illegal immigrant construction worker from Ecuador, who recently was convicted in Worcester County, Mass., of negligent vehicular homicide (a misdemeanor), driving unlicensed, and two more traffic infractions after a crash that killed Andrea Agosto, age 47, mother of three children."

It would take three such fatal crashes to make Zaruma ineligible for legalization, CIS notes.

The remaining 22,339 (55%) were convicted of a felony or at least three misdemeanors and, thus, would be ineligible for legalization - "unless the Homeland Security Secretary waived their ineligibility, which is allowed under the bill," CIS says.

As "The Right Views" previously reported, the ICE Council warned Congress in a letter that the S. 744 stipulates that "the (DHS) Secretary is given the 'sole and unreviewable discretion' to waive that ineligibility for large classes of qualifying aliens."

The letter warns that political appointees would have the power to pardon virtually all types of criminal acts:

"At least two of these standards appear undefined by S. 744 or current law, providing political appointees with broad authority to establish their own definitions of these terms and pardon criminal acts under almost any circumstance."

In a separate analysis of S. 744, CIS warns that the bill creates other threats to public safety, national security and enforcement efforts, as well, since it is "designed to reward and protect lawbreakers" while undermining current immigration law measures.

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