Ariz. Sheriff: Illegal Aliens Imprisoned ‘10 Times or More’ for ’10 Different Crimes’

By Penny Starr | November 20, 2014 | 11:26am EST

Rep. Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, spoke about criminal illegal aliens in the U.S. on Nov. 18, 2014. ( Starr)

( – At a House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere hearing on Tuesday, Rep. Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.) said it’s a “serious problem” how illegal aliens are imprisoned for criminal offenses multiple times in his state, according to what he’s been told by Maricopa County Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

“I was told by Sheriff Arpaio he’s had some that have been in his prison 10 times or more for different crimes – 10 different crimes,” Salmon said. “So they’ve been arrested, flagged by INS [Immigration and Naturalization Service, now part of the Department of Homeland Security], released, back in jail, arrested on another crime a few months later or a year later.

“It’s a serious problem,” said Salmon, who is chairman of the subcommittee.

The hearing was held to question Obama administration officials about the government’s response to the more than 60,000 illegal alien children or Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) that surged over the U.S. border from Central America over the past year.

State Department officials tried to focus on how the United States is trying to provide money and services to Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala to stop the violence and poverty that they said drove the aliens to leave their homes in Central America.

But Republicans on the committee were concerned about those entering the country illegally that pose a threat to public safety.


Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) spoke about criminal illegal aliens in the United States on Nov. 18, 2014 at a House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere hearing. ( Starr)

Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) cited a report given to Judiciary after it requested the statistics from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). DeSantis said he was “shocked” when he saw the report.


“For fiscal year 2013, ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] released 36,700 convicted criminals who were in the country illegally rather than have them detained pending outcome of deportation proceeding,” DeSantis said. “We always hear we’ve got to focus the resources on the criminals – the people who really mean us harm.

“Some of the convictions these people – 193 homicide convictions, 426 sexual assault convictions, kidnapping, aggravated assault, vehicle theft, drug trafficking -- I mean, very, very serious offenses – and yet DHS is releasing these individuals into American society rather than repatriate them back to their nation of origin.”

DeSantis said the government claimed it released the criminals because their countries of origin refused to repatriate them.

So, DeStantis argued, why doesn’t the State Department put pressure on those countries by restricting the issuance of visas if criminals are not permitted to return?


Roberta Jacobson, Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, testified on Nov. 18, 2014 at a House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere hearing. ( Starr)

“Let me assure you that DHS and the State Department work really closely on the issue of criminal deportees,” Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roberta Jacobson responded at the hearing.


“And when we are notified by DHS, we work really closely with them to push very hard to get countries to take back those criminal,” Jacobson said.

“But not hard enough where you would actually stop the issuing visas,” DeSantis said.

“We succeed very often in getting criminal deportees returned,” Jacobson said. She noted in her sworn testimony that the three Central American countries that were the focus of the hearing have been repatriating citizens who have been convicted of a crime.

DeSantis then pointed out that the 36,700 criminal aliens released represent a large number (32 percent) of the 88,000 criminal illegal aliens that were in U.S. custody in fiscal year 2013, according to the report given to Judiciary.

“That clearly is not doing what is necessary to keep the American people safe,” DeSantis said.

DHS officials were asked to testify at the hearing but declined to appear, according to the subcommittee.

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