Sunday, September 5, 2010

Fed agents frustrated by judges’ immigration decisions
By: Sara A. Carter
National Security Correspondent
August 31, 2010

In March, Jose Manuel Gonzalez-Sandoval — who had committed serious crimes in the United States since 1998 — stood before Florence, Ariz., Immigration Judge Bruce Taylor on a deportation hearing. That day the judge canceled his removal proceedings, allowing him to stay in the United States.

Four months later, Sandoval was arrested again on an outstanding warrant but was released. Three days after that release he led police on a 100 mph car chase. Then in August, in response to a 911 call from his family, he shot at Arizona deputies who came to his home. That night, he escaped. He later turned himself into authorities after they began a public manhunt for him.

Sandoval, who had resident status, is only one example of a legal system that lacks working mechanisms for deporting criminal aliens, said Rep. Ted Poe, a Texas Republican and former judge.

“The federal government has the responsibility, the moral duty to send these criminal aliens back where they came from after they do their prison time and before they commit more crimes,” said Poe, who is co-chair of the Victims’ Rights Caucus. He said both the Obama and Bush administrations handled the issue ineffectively, hiding facts from the American people and “sugar-coating” the truth regarding the deportation of criminal aliens.

This month, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency announced that the Obama administration is planning to dismiss thousands of illegal alien deportation cases, possibly 17,000, if the immigrants have a potential path to legal residency or overstayed their visas.

But critics say many illegal aliens with long criminal records composed of what some courts consider to be lesser charges will see their deportation cases dismissed as well. They cite Sandoval as an example.

“The system is skewed to release these criminals,” said Poe, a former judge. He recalled many times he saw repeat criminal offenders back in his courtroom after issuing detainers, which required the federal government to deport them after they served their U.S. sentences.

“The detainers don’t work, because we either don’t have enough federal agents, the administration doesn’t make it a priority and there isn’t any accountability when alien criminals are released back into society,” Poe said.

ICE, Border Patrol and local law enforcement officers told The Washington Examiner that law enforcement agencies are frustrated by the judicial system’s approach to handling immigrants charged with crimes...

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