ICE Frees 20,000 Criminals, Many Violent; Home Countries Won’t Take Them


Omar Kalmio never was supposed to get to North Dakota, says the Minneapolis Star Tribune. The Somali national was supposed to be deported because of his violent criminal record in Minnesota. Instead, he was released when federal officials could not send him back to Somalia. Eight months later, he murdered four people in one of the most deadly crimes ever committed in modern-day North Dakota. Like Kalmio, thousands of criminal immigrants have been sent back to U.S. streets because their homelands refused to take them back. Sometimes, the consequences have proved deadly.

More than 20,000 offenders released in the past seven years include hundreds of convicted murderers and at least five convicted of terrorism. Many times U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) quietly releases offenders without notifying their victims or local law enforcement, citing privacy concerns. In a vast immigration system where ICE makes more than 360,000 removals a year, the issue of what to do with 3,000 criminal immigrants has proved perplexing. The U.S. Supreme Court has twice raised constitutional concerns about holding immigrants indefinitely, even those with violent pasts. Federal authorities generally have only a six-month window to get immigrants with criminal histories out of the country, or they must release them.

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