Here's another example of Obama's failed immigration policy threatening the public. Statistics from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) show that almost 90,000 illegal aliens considered a threat are not deported and eventually are released.
Internal ICE figures show that in fiscal 2015, the agency encountered 152,393 illegal immigrants labeled a criminal threat, mostly in jails, but charged 64,116. About another 88,000 were not processed for deportation, according to the Center for Immigration Studies' Jessica Vaughan.
The numbers are even worse for those who ICE asks local police and sheriffs to detain but never collect.
Under Obama's recently announced Priority Enforcement Program, officials work with local police to arrest and deport criminal immigrants. In reality, that amounts to a phone call from ICE requesting local authorities hold the suspect for 48 hours after they're set to be freed.
But several sheriffs from around the country say that just 35-40 percent of those held are ever seized by ICE, even after they've been released.
Richard W. Stanek, sheriff of Hennepin County in Minneapolis, said he had 75 illegals ICE wanted, but the agency only picked up about 35 percent. "And these are people that they want," he told theWashington Examiner.
Susan Benton, sheriff of Florida's Highlands County, said "mine would be much much lower." Worse, she added, many are seized and sent to a federal facility in Miami and immediately released and return to her county.
It's become a huge issue for local police. Benton said she wants to help ICE and hold illegal immigrants longer, but can't legally. Often the result is more crime from the suspect and questions about why her department's jail frees them.
A big reason why ICE doesn't deport these criminal aliens is that the immigration courts are swamped:
Kang has been in America long enough to raise two sons and run a family-owned doughnut shop in Irving. After years of worrying, he thinks he's about to find out his fate. Things look promising.
But Sims sets a merit hearing for Dec. 6, 2017.
The average case now takes two years to wind through the courts. Some can take five.
The backlog annoys both the political left and right. U.S. Rep. Jack Ratcliffe, R-Heath, called it a "de facto amnesty" at a recent congressional hearing. Immigrants live in the U.S. for years waiting to find out whether they can, well, live in the U.S.
Democrats complain that the courts need more money to operate smoothly. The nation's immigration courts have long functioned like an orphaned child of the immigration system. The courts' budget equals about 2 percent of total federal funding for immigration law enforcement this fiscal year. Underfunding the courts "undermines justice," U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Houston, said at the same hearing.
Dana Leigh Marks, president of the National Association of Immigration Judges, said in an interview that daily life in the immigration courts is "grim." In addition to the judge shortage, there aren't enough clerks and there's no electronic filing of cases or motions.
Juan Osuna, director of the U.S. immigration courts, said help is on the way: More than 100 new judges will be hired if the Obama administration can overcome the hurdles.
"That is going to have a very, very significant impact and will begin to enable us to shorten these wait times and most" of the backlog, Osuna said at a December House hearing.
But hiring new judges has been a zero-sum game.
Last year, 23 judges were hired, but 22 retired or left the system, Marks said. And nearly half of the 254 current judges are eligible for retirement.
This is a disaster waiting to happen. There is obstruction from both sides for different reasons but the bottom line is that there simply isn't enough attention paid to this problem and hence, not enough money is appropriated to deal with it.
Republicans consistently give ICE more money than the Obama administration requests but shortchange immigration courts. If the GOP wants to get serious about controlling the flood of illegals crossing the border, the money devoted to all immigration enforcement efforts must be radically increased.