WASHINGTON TIMES — The State Department is thwarting efforts to deport immigrants to China, Guinea, Liberia and other countries that are reluctant to take back their own citizens convicted of crimes — forcing immigration agents to release often-violent criminals back onto the streets, U.S. government documents show.
The Homeland Security Department’s deportation agency has filed several petitions asking the State Department to take steps to punish recalcitrant countries, including the ultimate punishment of denying visas to visitors from those countries. But the department has failed to follow through on the plain language in federal law, saying it doesn’t want to anger foreign governments by withholding the visas.
In the meantime, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is forced to release the immigrants, many of whom commit further serious crimes. The recidivism rate is 30 percent or higher for criminal aliens released from detention.
And the backlog is growing: Some 35,000 immigrants with criminal records are awaiting deportation back to Cuba, while the number of migrants awaiting deportation to China stands at 1,900, ICE said in documents provided to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, after questioning by Chairman Jason Chaffetz, Utah Republican, and ranking Democrat Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland.
The two lawmakers are demanding that the State Department explain why it has refused to deny visas or block funding to recalcitrant countries, as the law requires.
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